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Full text of "A thrilling and truthful history of the Pony Express; or, Blazing the westward way, and other sketches and incidents of those stirring times"

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Red dots on above map indicate Pony Express route from St. Joseph to Placcrville (near Sacramento) ; 
j^rcin lines the Union-Southern Pacifii', Oinalia. St. Joseph, .iml Kansas City to San I'Vaneisco. 

Commencinjj April li, lS(i(), the Pony Express made weekly, and later vemi-ueekly , runs from Elwood 
(across the river from St. Joseph) to Plaecrvillc, 2,U0() miles in S days, 250 miles a day; the time to San 
Francisco hcinif 10 days. 

'Plie ()\iTland Limited runs daily from Omaha to San Francisco in 50 hours 3S minutes. 









Rand. McXallv & Co. 

Printers and Engravers 


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Copyright, 1908. 


E. L. LoMAX. 

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"The Great American Desert" 9 

The Gold Fever 13 

Winning the West 17 

The Pony Express Succeeds 22 

Off Both Ways 31 

Famous Rides and Riders 38 

"Pony Bob"— Robert Haslam 44 

"Buffalo Bill"— Col. W. F. Cody 49 

A Little Pawnee 63 

The Telegraph 69 

An Incident that Changed a Railroad Terminus 71 

"The Iron Trail" 75 

General Sheridan's Way 80 

The Beginning of the End 85 


Rising, the sun points westward, by the shadows of the trees. 
The shadows of the mountains, and of monuments and men. 

And westward is the trending from the continents and seas; 

From all the earth, within the scope of mortal sight and ken. 

From where the murky waters of the dark Missouri flow, 

And blot the blue of Mississippi's clear and placid tide, 
Since the dawn of Western Empire, a hundred years ago, 

Ha\-e ridden bands of hardy men, with Progress for their guide. 

Amid the forests and along, where to the tawny stream, 
Come branches, lazing eastward, across the desert plain. 

They rode, and on, twixt castled buttes, to where the movmtains gleam, 
'Neath helmets of eternal snow, 'mid Nature's rugged reign. 

Among the Sioux and Shoshone, and Cheyenne tribes that roamed. 
The region where tlie riders bold, undaunted took their way; 

Along the placid ri\ers, and where cascades dashed and foamed. 
They blazed the way of Empire ; lit its wider, brighter day. 

Over the mountain ranges, and among the crags and peaks; 

.Vdown the streams that turn toward the great Pacific Sea ; 
Where Nature imto Nature's God her sonorous aves speaks. 

Along the canons and the dalles, the forests and the lea. 

Highways of steel have stretched along the trail the seekers made ; 

Great mountains have been rent in twain, deep valleys bridged and spanned; 
As if by magic, cities rose, and arteries of trade 

Have pulsed the blood of enterprise through all this gloryland. 

This gloryland where Nature's mood is wild, and free, and strong. 

Where awful, rise the mountain kings, where sweep the river queens, 

In majesty unspeakable, and where the forest's song. 
In high hosanna, rolls above its sea of evergreens. 

Now hers is high prosperity, and happiness, and health. 

With life that throbs in ecstacy amid the golden gifts; 
Now the favored land rejoices in blest, God-given wealth. 

And in thanksgiving, ardently, its grateful voice uplifts. 

Then Ho! for the land of plenty, under the western sun! 

And Ho! for the land of flowers, land of the vine and tree! 
Ho! for the land of grit and gold, the land by heroes won! 

Ho! for the land of Fortune's home, along the western sea! 

And shout for the flag — "Old Glory!" Shout for its waving bars. 
Where blaze the crimson tintings of the sunset's lustrous dyes, 

And gleams the snow of the mountains that reach toward the stars; 
The bravest flag that ever rose to kiss a nation's skies! 

'Twas borne by heroes, valiantly, along the Western Trail, 

The young republic's light and pride, "Old Glory," Hail! All hail! 

W. L. V. 






THE school-boy of half a century, 
and more, ago was taught by his 
geography that a large area west of 
the Missouri River, and not very far 
from the banks of that dark stream, 
was the "Great American Desert." 

In somewhat uncertain lines that 
arid waste was shown on the map of 
the republic in his atlas, less known 
than the sirocco-swept Sahara. But 
before this almost unknown territory 
had been eliminated from his books, 
he began to learn through the every- 

dav sources of 
i n for mat ion 
that this region 
was being en- 
croached upon 
by the advance 
skirmishers of 

The boy did 
not comprehend 
it all, but as he 
stepped along in 
years it became 
plainer and 
plainer, and by the time he had 
reached manhood and its affairs, his 
own progress and that of the far West 
had so broadened and improved that 
what he had learned of the "Great 
American Desert" had become a dim 

First, the bov had seen a few of 

Ho.N. Thomas Hart 

Famous U. S. Senator from 

Gen. John Charles 


"The Pathfinder" 

War, who had come back to the 
States, and who had brought with 
them a mustang pony, curious Mexi- 
can jewelry and 
Indian trap- 
pings, a som- 
brero, and a 
serape of bright 
colors, a buffalo 
robe, and other 
things that 
specially im- 
pressed his 
youthful fancy. 
He heard the re- 
turned soldier 
talk to the "old folks" about the 
West and Southwest — not yet touch- 
ing the Great American Desert, but 
getting quite close to it. 

This set the boy to looking west- 

Then he heard of the discoveries of 
gold in California. Sutter's mill-race 
was his property, in a way, and he 
was well acquainted with neighbors 
who went away, far toward the 
"jumping-off -place," to the "dig- 
gings." Then came the song "Joe 
Bowers," that told the sad tale of a 
man who went to "Californy" to win 
a fortune for his sweetheart, and how 
she proved false because Joe had gone 
so far that he never could possibly 
get back, and she married a red- 

the volunteer soldiers of the Mexican headed butcher and had a red-headed 



Sutter's Mill-race, California 
Where gold was first discovered 

■according to 

Joe's wail of 


Then, through letters home, from 
the argonauts and other adventurers, 
the boy learned of emigrant trains 
that crossed the vast pl-ains, and of 
the Overland Stage coaches, the great, 
swinging ships of the plains that were 
nearly like the caravels of Columbus, 
but following one after another, until 
there was an undulating line of them 
stretching from start to finish across 
the map, in his mind, of billow}' 
prairie, sand-bottomed and treacher- 
ous streams, white-faced desert, 
mountain defiles, snow-crowned 
peaks, and so on to Sutter's Mill, and 

And the boy was close to the 
beginning of the facts. 

Much was printed in the news- 
papers and magazines of the day 
concerning all this, and the boy 
devoured it. Now and then a book 

came within his reach that fairly 
teemed with the wonderful West and 
the exploits of men and women, and 
even some boys, like himself, in the 
long journey across the continent, 
and actually over the Great American 

The tales of almost ceaseless fight- 
ing with the Indians; the descrip- 
tions of the varying way; the pic- 
tures of camps on the plains, where 
the great and curious covered wagons 
of the emigrant trains and the freight- 
ers made a corral, and where some 
skulls of buffalo, Indian wickiups, 
Indians themselves, with little else 
than a head-dress of feathers and a 
bunch of bows and arrows about 
them, entered into the striking detail ; 
the riders of the Pony Express who 
flashed by in a streak of shapeful 
color, followed by a long-drawn, 
quivering whoop ; the wealth of hardi- 
hood, horse flesh, and brilliant dash 



that gleamed from these fleet mes- 
sengers of commerce and romance — 
all this, and more of its sort, crowded 
the boy to the very heights of sensa- 
tional enthusiasm. He reveled in it 
and wanted it. Sometimes he went 
after it. When he did, it became his, 
or he became its. 

To the boy who only saw it from 
afar, it was a glorious mental pano- 

To those who were really of it, and 
in it, and for it, there were manhood, 
womanhood, bravery, patriotism, 
trial, pain, fatigue, joy, sorrow, loss, 
gain, achievement, conquest, success, 

To the civilized world, it brought 
the addition of a vast area of re- 
deemed wilderness. 

To the republic it opened an 
empire of opulent resource and many 
splendid states. 

To "Old Glory" it was a sprinkling 
on the blue firmament of another 
shower of sparkling stars. 

To the "Great American Desert" it 
brought the rains of heaven and the 
waters of the earth with sane and 
human climate, undulating meadows, 
prolific fields, flowering gardens, fruit- 
ful orchards, homes, cities, villages, 
farms, roads, railways, intelligence, 
wealth, comfort, art, strength, health 
and happiness; prosperity in all its 
tints and shades, its elements and 

From the beginning, when man 
was told to "possess the earth and 
subdue it," he has thus aspired, and 
he has thought that he could see afar. 
According to his individual cosmos, 
he has looked into the future of the 
world l)y aid of reason, science, phil- 
osophy and high thought, a great dis- 
tance, but the vista has been shadowy 
and without detail — merely a long 
streak of shimmering light. Time, 

industry, experience, experiment, ne- 
cessity, ceaseless^seeking, have accom- 
plished the world's success, and the 
same will accomplish far more. 

When Greece was the republic of 
art and science, and Rome had 
learned from her and advanced to be 
the mistress of the world, even vet 
the supply of heat was safeguarded 
in temple fires, and an emperor was 
chief priest thereof. 

To-day, any tramp, or the most 
indigent beggar, is supplied with 
matches wherewitli he may start a 
blaze that Caesar might have shivered 
for the lack of. 

When, nearly a century ago, Ben- 
ton stood in the Senate of this repub- 
lic, and pointing dramatically toward 
the west, exclaimed, "There lies the 
East; there lies India," he saw only 
a road that led to a point on the 
Pacific sea from which ships might 
sail and shorten the way to our trade 
with the Orient. The mighty empire 
that arose from the western desert, 
wilderness, and arid expanse over 
which he was pointing, was not seen 
by even so great a mind as his. He 
simply saw "through a glass, darkly." 

Before Benton, a few decades, it 
was believed that there was more 
land on the eastern slope of the 
Allegheny Mountains, and a line 
running north and south from them, 
than the people of the United States 
would ever need, for any purpose, 
and when Iowa, Missouri, and Arkan- 
sas were the western border states, 
the Great American Desert and the 
awful Rockies were squat in the 
middle of an inconceivable area of 
sand, stone, bleakness, aridity, death, 
and desolation. 

For ages and eons Nature has been 
building in the space of this desola- 
tion the vast heritage that belongs 
to-day to the people of the West, 



and through them to the people of 
the world. 

The hunter, the freighter, the pony 
express rider, the emigrant, the tele- 
graph, the railroad, irrigation — each 
in turn — blazed, opened, improved 
the way; the keys of Energy and 
Enterprise unlocked the treasure 
vaults, and Prosperity, before un- 
dreamed of, arose as if a special and 
all-covering benediction from Jeho- 

vah. The crops alone from this 
"desert" are annually more than all 
the gold money in the world. Days 
of travel carry the beholder through 
good growth until the eye becomes 
weary with it. Millions of prosper- 
ous people enjoy it; many, many 
more millions will be added to these. 
The waste places have become a 
glory to the world, under the dancing 
shadow of the Star Spangled Banner. 


An Emigrant Train 



THE discoveryof gold in California, 
in the richest and most accessible 
deposits ever known in the world, of 
which there is authentic account, had 
sent a mighty stream of humanity 
to that region. Its currents had 
arisen throughout the earth, and 
converging there, had flooded the 

"The fall of '49 and spring of '50" 
were the times of the greatest tides 

savages killed thousands. The trail 
was marked with skeletons and scat- 
tered bones of human beings and ani- 
mals of all kinds. The history of 
it all groans with pain, privation, and 
death. The details of adventure that 
have been written and printed would 
load a long railway train, and yet the 
half has not been told. 

Notwithstanding the struggle nec- 
essary to get there, people in long and 

"The Cen'tral Route" 

of immigration. By sail from the 
uttermost parts of the earth people 
had gone along all the ways necessary 
to reach the land of gold and from 
the relatively eastern regions of this 
republic, men, women, and children 
had taken the "Isthmus Route" and 
"Round the Horn," long voyages by 
sea, for the same goal. Countless 
thousands had also toiled across the 
plains and mountains, "The Overland 
Route." To use the mildest terms, 
it was a strenuous journey. Disease, 
fatigue, flood, cold, heat, storms, and 

lustful lines arrived and immediately 
sought "the diggings," or fell into 
other ways of attaining the yellow 
bait. Commerce in all branches of 
trade, gambling, robbery, anything 
to get gold was done. Not all men 
in all these ways struggled for it, but 
some men in each. At any rate the 
magnet drew people in such numbers 
that California quickly received in- 
habitants enough to be admitted to 
the Union as a State, and as the 
territory belonged to this republic, 
one of the United States. 



Abraham Lincoln 



Government was rapidly systema- 
tized, and business with "the States," 
was needful, mandatory, strong, and 
intense. The distance and the peril- 
ous and time-consuming means of 
communication made an ever-pend- 
ing obstacle to all the ramifications 
of life between the new state and the 
older states, commercial, govern- 
mental, social. Leading men were 
constantly calculating ways and 
means and endeavoring to evolve plans 
for the bettering of these conditions. 

Hon. W. M. Gwin, one of the United 
States Senators from California, pro- 
ceeding in the fall of 1854 from San 
Francisco to Washington City, to 
take up his legislative duties, rede, 
horseback, from the Pacific Ocean to 
the Missouri River, by the way of 
Sacramento, Salt Lake City, South 
Pass, and down the Platte to St. 
Joseph, that way then known as 
"The Central Route." 

One of the standing jokes of that 
day was that the term of a member 
of Congress from California might 
run out while he was on the way to 
the national capital, if he was much 
delayed, en route. 

On a long distance of the journey 
mentioned, and for many days. Sena- 
tor Gwin had for a traveling com- 
panion Mr. B. F. Ficklin, general 
superintendent of the pioneer freight- 
ing firm, Russell, Majors and Wad- 
dell. Between these two earnest, 
observant, and practical men grew 
the idea, on this journey, of what 
afterward culminated in the famous 
"Pony Express." Both were enthu- 
siastic for closer communication be- 
tween California and the East, and 
the Senator became an active and 
untiring advocate of the freighter's 
scheme for the unique express service 

In January following (1855), ^^^^ 

almost immediately after Senator 
Gwin's arrival in Washington, he 
introduced a bill in Congress looking 
to the establishment of a weekly mail 
express between St. Louis and San 
Francisco. The time schedule of 
this service was to be ten days 
between the two cities. Five thou- 
sand dollars for the round trip was to 
be the compensation and the Central 
Route to be the line traveled. 

That bill went to the Senate Com- 
mittee on Military Affairs, and it was 
relegated to the reserves. At any 
rate its front never showed again. 

"The Irrepressible Conflict" was 
on for the following five years, until 
the election of Mr. Lincoln as presi- 
dent precipitated the Civil War, and 
during all this time Congress and the 
country east were so entirely ab- 
sorbed in the impending struggle that 
nearly all thought of Pacific Coast 
business was submerged in the inten- 
sity of sectional afifairs. But the far 
West, especially California, clamored 
more and louder for accelerated mail 
service. The people of these regions 
desired to know what was going on 
and were insistent. The war talk 
was added to all the other causes of 
the demand for quicker information. 
Thus, the West did not cease to agi- 
tate the subject. 

The South, however, was strongest 
in Congress. Its interests, pending 
the struggle, demanded the preven- 
tion of legislation favorable to the 
routes north of "Mason and Dixon's 
Line" and sought the confining of all 
government aid in that direction to 
the southern routes. 

In those days there were three 
trans-continental mail routes, very 
slow ones, but the great bulk of the 
mail was sent by the Isthmian Route, 
via Panama, and the time between 
New York and San Francisco, at its 



best, was twenty-two days. 

The first overland mail route west 
of the Missouri was a monthly stage 
line from Independence to Salt Lake, 
1,200 miles. Its first trip began 
July I, 1850, and its continuance was 
four years. In 1854, the Govern- 
ment paid $80,000 per annum for a 
monthly mail -stage from Missouri, 
via Albuquerque, to Stockton, Cali- 
fornia. It was one of the failures of 
the period — during the nine months 

it ran, its receipts were $1,255. Thus 
early, as well as later, there were 
many serious interruptions in the 
service. The eastern mails for No- 
vember, 1850, reached California in 
March, 1851; and the news of the 
creation of Utah Territory by Con- 
gress in September, 1850, arrived at 
Salt Lake the following January, 
having gone via Panama by steamer 
to San Francisco, and thence east by 
private messenger. 

The News of Lincoln's Election 



IN 1756, it took our great-great- remembered among those Americans 
grandfathers three days to "stage who helped to win the West. This 
it" from New York to Philadelphia; "Southern Overland Mail" was oper- 
and under Washington's administra- ated till the Civil War utterly pre- 
tion, two six-horse coaches carried all eluded mail-carrying so far south, 
the passenger traffic between New York and the Overland had to be trans- 
and Boston — six days each way. It ferred to a shorter northern route, 
was a long step from this to the Over- where it took its chances with the 
land travel of half a century later, snows. The first daily Overland 
The first great transcontinental stage stage on the "Central" line left St. 
line, and probably the longest "con- Joe and Placerville simultaneously 
tinuous run" ever operated, was the July i, 1861, and each finished its 
Butterfield "Southern Overland 2,000 mile trip on the i8th. 
Mail." Its route was 2,759 miles. There have never been compiled 
from St. Louis to San Francisco — even approximate statistics of the 
being far south, via El Paso, Yuma, overland travel and freighting from 
and Los Angeles, to avoid the snows 1846 to i860; nor would it be possible 
of the Rockies. For this tremendous to list the vast throng of emigrants 
distance, its schedule time was at that crossed the Plains. Roughly 
first twenty-five and then twenty- speaking, 42,000 people did it in 1849 
three days; its record run, twenty- alone. There is no tally of the 
one days. Its first coaches started freighting enterprises that sprang up 
simultaneously from St. Louis and on the heels of this vast migration, 
San Francisco, September 15, 1858; and grew to proportions now-a-days 
and each was greeted by a mighty incredible. By the sixties, 500 heav- 
ovation at the end. Through fare, ily laden wagons sometimes passed 
$100, gold; letters, ten cents per Fort Kearney in a day. In six 
half ounce. The equipment con- weeks, in 1865, 6,000 wagons, each 
sisted of more than 100 Concord with from one to four tons of freight 
coaches, 1,000 horses, 500 mules, and passed that point. At about this 
750 men, including 150 drivers. It time also, express messenger Frank 
began as a semi-weekly stage, but A. Root — whose book "The Overland 
was soon promoted to six times a Stage to California" deserves to be 
week. The deadly deserts, through better known — counted, in one day's 
which nearly half its route lay, the ride, 888 westbound wagons, drawn 
sand storm, the mirage, the hell of by 10,650 oxen, horses and mules, 
thirst, the dangerous Indian tril)es, between Fort Kearney and old Jules- 
and its vast length — 40 per cent burg. A curious connotation as to 
greater than that of any other stage the relative speed of the Overland 
line in our history — made it a stage and the Overland freighting is 
colossal undertaking; and the name the fact that Root, starting from 
of John Butterfield deserves to be Atchison one day, spoke to. a bull 




The Great American' Desert of Today 

whacker just "pulling his freight" in 
the same direction; got to Denver; 
doubled back, meeting his friend 
somewhat advanced, and so on; 
finally bespeaking him as he trundled 
into Denver. Root had made the 
single trip five times (3,265 miles) 
with eighteen days' lay-over, while 
the freighter was covering the 653- 
mile road once. 

The height of this freighting was 
the period 1850 to 1869; its climax 
was from 1863 to 1866. The floating 
population then on the Western 
Plains was nearly 250,000. In 1865, 
over 21,000,000 pounds of freight 
were shipped from Atchison alone, 
requiring 4,917 wagons and 8,164 
mules, 27,685 oxen, and 1,256 men. 
That is more oxen than there are 

to-day in the states of Maine, New 
Hampshire, and Vermont; and more 
mules than the census of 1900 gives 
all New England, New York State, 
Utah, and the District of Columbia. 
And this was but a drop in the 
bucket. The firms engaged were 
many; their men an army; their 
"cattle a host." One firm alone — 
the greatest, but only one of a multi- 
tude — Russell, Majors and Waddell — 
at topnotch employed 6,250 big 
wagons and 75,000 oxen. The 
twelfth census fails to give statistics 
of working oxen — perhaps this mode 
of transport has so fallen off in the 
decade since 1890 (when it was 
itemized) as no longer to be reckoned 
important — but probably there are 
not to-day so many oxen working in 


the United States as this one firm 
used half a century ago. This may 
give some faint idea of the mighty 
traffic whose wheels wrinkled the face 
of the far West, and the smoke of 
whose dusty torments "ascended up 
forever" and reddened the prairie 
sunsets for a generation. 

The standard organization of such 
a train was twenty-five of the huge, 
long-geared "prairie schooners" flar- 
ing from the bottom upward, and 
sometimes seventeen feet long, with 
six feet depth of hold and capacity of 
from 5,000 to 16,000 pounds each; 
and each with six to twelve yoke of 
oxen. The men of the outfit were 
— a captain or wagon-master, his 
assistant, a night herder, and 
the "cavvyard driver" (who had 
charge of the spare riding horses — a 
plains corruption of the Spanish 
caballada), and a driver for each 
wagon. The ox drivers were uni- 
versally known as "bull whackers," 
and their beasts as "bull teams." 
The Jehus, who had long-eared "crit- 
ters" instead of horned ones, were 
"mule skinners." "Trailers" did not 
come in until after 1859. 

At high tide, the investment 
reached a figure beside which the 
earlier Chihuahua trains seem insig- 
nificant. The huge "Conestoga," or 
Pittsburgh , " or " Pennsylvania ' ' wag- 
ons cost $800 to $1,500 each; first- 
class mules (and no other sort would 
do), S500 to $1,000 a pair; harness, 
S300 to $600 to the ten-mule team — 
a total of $2,600 to $7,100 per wagon, 
besides salaries, provisions, and inci- 
dentals. In other words, a first- 
class freighting outfit on the Plains, 
half a century ago, cost as much as 
an up-to-date vestibuled passenger 
train of to-day. 

The largest train ever organized 
on the Plains was that of General 


Custer, in his 1868 campaign. He 
had over 800 six-mule teams — single 
file four miles long. 

The establishment of regular freight 
caravans from the Missouri River 
westward greatly reduced the cost of 
transportation and vastly developed 
business and immigration. In thp 
days of pack-trains, it was — and still 
is, where that institution survives in 
the remotenesses of the West — no 
uncommon thing to j)ay Si. 00 per 
pound per 100 miles, or S20 per ton 
per mile. There have been regular 
tariffs much in excess of this, but 
this was common. Nowadays it 
costs a railroad, even on the moun- 
tainous grades of the far West, only 
about seven-eighths of a cent per ton 
per mile to haul its freights. The 
tariff of the Overland freighters, 
between Atchison and Denver (620 
miles), averaged as follows: 

Flour 9 cents per lb. 

Sugar 13', 2 cents per lb. 

Bacon and dry goods 15 cents per lb. 

Whisky 18 cents per lb. 

Glass 19)^ cents per lb. 

Trunks 25 cents per lb. 

Furniture 31 cents per lb. 

and so on. Everything went by the 
pound. The above trip took twenty- 
one days for wagons drawn by horses 
or mules; five weeks for ox teams. 

The quickest time ever made across 
the continent, before the Pony Ex- 
press, was twenty-one days by the 
Butterfield stage line, its schedule 
for mail from New York to San 
Francisco being twenty-three days. 
The Pony Express more than cut 
this in half. Not only did it never 
once fail to span the transcontinental 
desert in ten days; it more than once 
surpassed any other courier record in 
history. Buchanan's last message 
was carried by it from St. Joe to Sac- 
ramento, 2,000 miles, in seven days 
and nineteen hours ; and the news of 



Horace (ikkkikv 
Famous Editor who crossed 
the plains by stage-coach 

Lincoln's elec- 
tion to Denver 
(O63 miles) in 2 
days, twenty- 
one hours. It 
whisked Lin- 
coln's inaugural 
across the 2,000 
mile gap in the 
N a t i o n 's con- 
tinuity in seven 
days and seven- 
teen hours. This 
latter is still the world's record for 
dispatch by means of men and horses. 
There have been times when a rail- 
road train could not reliably cross the 
continent as swiftly as did the best of 
the Centaur-Mercuries, organized by 
that typical frontiersman, Alex 
Majors, who died about the year 1900, 
the Kentucky Christian who never 
drank, never swore, and made his 
employes sign a contract not to 
drink, nor gamble, nor swear, under 
penalty of being "fired" without the 
pay that was coming. 

In his young manhood Majors made 
the broad-horn record on the Santa 
Fe Trail — a round-trip with oxen in 
ninety-two days. Later, he took up 
government contracts, and in 1858, 
aside from other activities, w^as using 
over 3,500 large wagons merely to 
transport government supplies into 
Utah, employing there 4,000 men, 
Majors was also one of the two 
stage-line kings. For debt, folly of 
his partners, or other reasons alien to 
his choice, in his own despite he be- 
came responsible head of more miles, 
and harder miles, more animals, and 
less "gentled" ones, more Concord 
coaches, and more "king whips" than 
any man before or since, save only 
Ben Holladay. Between Leaven- 
worth and Denver, Majors had 1,000 

mules and fifty coaches. The first 
of these "hoss-power Pullmans" 
reached Denver May 17, 1859, six 
days for the 665-mile journey. Hor- 
ace Greeley, Henry Villard, and 
Albert D. Richardson were passen- 
gers. The Hockaday and Liggett 
stage line from St. Joe to Salt Lake 
had (in 1858) frittered twenty-two 
days in its semi-monthly trips. 
Majors cut the 1,200-mile-run to ten 
days, with a coach each way daily. The 
stage from Denver to Salt Lake had 
a run of over 600 miles without a sin- 
gle town, hamlet, or house on the way. 
By 1859 there were no less than six 
mail routes to California (counting 
the Panama steamer), but Ben Holla- 
day was king. No other one man, 
anywhere, has owned and managed a 
transportation system at once so vast 
and so difficult. He had sixteen 
first-class passenger steamers plying 
the Pacific from San Francisco to 
Oregon, Panama, Japan, and China. 
At the height of his Overland business 

Governor of Colorado in Gold-Fever days 



he operated nearly 5,000 miles of 
daily mail stages, with about 500 
coaches and express wagons, 500 
freight wagons, 5,000 horses and 
mules, and a host of oxen. 

On the main line he used 2,750 
horses and mules and 100 Concord 
coaches. It cost $55,000 for the 
harness; the feed bill was a million 
a year. To equip and run this line 
for the first twelve months cost 
$2,425,000. The Government paid 
Holladay a million dollars a year in 
mail contracts. In 1864, grain was 
worth 25 cents a pound along the line, 
andhay upto $125 a ton. In one day, 
Dave Street contracted, at St. Louis, 

for seven Missouri River steamers to 
load with corn for the Overland 's 
army of mules and horses. 

Holladay, whose whole career reads 
like fiction, was the Overland Napo- 
leon for about five years, beginning 
in December, 1861. The Indian dep- 
redations of 1864-66 greatly crippled 
his stage line, nearly all the stations 
for one hundred miles being burned, 
his stock stolen, and his men killed. 
The loss was upward of half a million. 
In November, 1866, he sold out the 
Overland stages to Wells, Fargo & Co., 
in whose hands the romantic enter- 
prise continued till the railroads 
drove romance off the plains forever. 


Stage-Coachi.n'g Across the Plai.\s 



DIvSPTTE the consuming interest the trails over which it was proposed 

in the coming war, Senator Gwin to ride the flying ponies, 

kept up his fight for a quick mail route Genghis Khan, the remarkable con- 

and the reduction of time in sending queror of Tartary and China, who 

news to the Pacific Coast and receiv- flourished in the years between A. D. 

ing news from that region. Notwith- 1203 ^"d 1227, has lately received 

standing that it was found impossible the credit of having originated the 

to obtain any subsidy from Congress, Pony Express. Some one has looked 

at that time, for the purpose in view, up the fact in the writings of Marco 

in the winter of 1859-60, Senator Polo, who says that the ancient 

Gwin and several capitalists of New Tartar had stations every twenty-five 

York, and Mr. Russell of the Overland miles over the territory that he wished 

transportation firm of Russell, Majors to send messages, and that his riders 

and Waddell, met in Washington City, made nothing of covering 300 miles 

and the result of that meeting was a day. However, things have ample 

the real start of one of the most time to grow in some centuries, and 

romantic and daring business ven- these rides may have been stretched 

tures this country, or any other coun- considerably on the elastic paper used 

try, ever knew. That was the Pony in Polo's time. It is certain, though, 

Express. By that the time of trans- that the system has been used in 

mitting news across the continent was Asia and Europe, even within a cen- 

reduced from twenty-one days to ten tury, and may be used there yet in 

days. It is about 3,500 miles by our remote regions. It is also certain 

most direct railway route from. New that pony express was used in this 

York to San Francisco, and it took country about the middle of the first 

seven days, three hours, and forty-five half of the last century. That is to 

minutes actual time to cover the dis- say, two or three decades before the 

tance on our fastest express trains Pony Express across the Great 

during the first years of railroad his- American Desert. David Hale, an 

tory. In 1859, there was not a mile enterprising New York newspaper 

of railroad west of the Missouri River, man, used it about 1825 in collecting 

St. Joseph, Missouri, was the western state news. In 1830, Richard 

terminus of railway communication, Haughton, editor of the New York 

and between that city and the young Journal of Commerce, afterward 

city of the Golden Gate there inter- founder of the Boston Atlas, utilized 

vened but one city, Salt Lake, and the system in the collection of election 

2,000 miles of wild, uninhabited coun- returns. James Watson Webb, of 

try, infested with warlike Indians, the New York Courier and Enquirer, 

Through this uninviting region led established a pony express in 1832 



Temple and Tabernacle at Salt Lake 

between New York and Washington 
that wrought dismay among his com- 
petitors until railways and tele- 
graphs overlapped him. 

These enterprises were, however, as 
simple and harmless as roller skating 
compared to the dangers and tests of 
endurance to which the Pony Express 
riders of the western plains and 
mountains were subjected in 1860-61. 

Majors, Russell and Waddell estab- 
lished and maintained for a number 
of years a fourteen-day mail schedule 
by rail and pony express between 
New York and San Francisco, making 
the trip of the running poiiies from 
St. Joseph to Sacramento as exactly 
upon the schedule time as do our mails 
to-day. By using the telegraph to 
St. Joe and the pony express beyond, 
news was carried from ocean to ocean 
in ten days. 

Senator Gwin's strongest argument 
was that if the operating company 
could carry tKe mails to the Pacific 
Coast in -quicker time than was then 
being accomplished, and if it could 
be shown that the line might be kept 
open the year round, increased emi- 
, gration and the building of a railroad 

by the Government would result. 
The sequel has far exceeded the most 
extravagant hopes of all who were 
then concerned. 

This able and patriotic statesman 
who had so deeply interested himself 
in the project under consideration, 
not only for the reasons already given, 
but also in the interest of accelerating 
communication between the Union- 
ists of the Pacific Coast and the Fed- 
eral authorities, ended strangely. 
Stalwart Union senator that he was, 
he afterward espoused the cause of 
the Southern Confederacy, when his 
native state, Mississippi, seceded, and 
by so doing lost his great prestige, 
influence, and fortune in California. 
After the war he drifted into Mexico 
and the service of the ill-starred 
Emppror Maximilian, who, in 1S66, 
made him Duke of Sonora in the 
furtherance of the visionary scheme 
of western empire. But Gwin shortly 
afterward died. 

Col. Alexander Majors, who long 
survived his partners, and wrote a 
highly interesting and instructive 
book of strictest authenticity, entitled 
"Seventy • Years on the Frontier," 

,V'MJ. W W W ^ 





gives in substance the following his- 
tory of the Pony Express, which 
account necessarily repeats in a few 
brief instances some of the preceding 
matter in this chronicle. 

Col. Majors says that in the winter 
of 1859. while the senior member of 
the firm was in Washington, he 
became intimately acquainted with 
Senator Gwin, of California, who, as 
stated previously, was very anxious 
that a quicker line for the transmission 
of letters should be established than 
that already worked by Butterfield ; 
the latter was outrageously circuitous. 

The senator was acquainted with 
the fact that the firm of Russell, 
Majors, and Waddell were operating 
a daily coach from the Missouri River 
to Salt Lake City, and he urged Mr. 
Russell to consider seriously the 
propriety of starting a pony express 
over the same route, and from Salt 
Lake City on to Sacramento. 

After a lengthy consultation with 
Senator Gwin, Mr. Russell consented 
to attempt the thing, provided he 
could induce his partners to take the 
same view of the proposed enterprise 
as himself, and he then returned to 
Leavenworth, the headquarters of the 
firm, to consult the other members. 
On learning the proposition suggested 
by Senator Gwin, both Colonel Majors 
and Mr. Waddell at once decided that 
the expense would be much greater 
than any possible revenue from the 

Mr. Russell, having, as he thought, 
partly at least, committed himself to 
the Senator, was much chagrined at 
the turn the affair had taken, and he 
declared that -Jie could not abandon 
his promise to Mr. Gwin, consequently 
his partners must stand by him. 

That urgent appeal settled the 
question, and work was commenced 
to start the Pony Express. 

On the Overland Stage Line, oper- 
ated by the firm, stations had been 
located every ten or twelve miles, 
which were at once utilized for the 
operation of the express; but beyond 
Salt Lake City new stations must be 
constructed, as there were no possible 
stopping places on the proposed new 
route. In less than two months after 
the promise of the firm had been 
pledged to Senator Gwin, the first 
express was ready to leave San Fran- 
cisco and St. Joseph, Missouri, simul- 

The fastest time ever thus far made 
on the "Butterfield Route" was 
twenty-one days between San Fran- 
cisco and New York. The Pony 
Express curtailed that time at once 
by eleven days, which was a marvel 
of rapid transit at that period. 

The plant necessary to meet the 
heavy demand made on the origin- 
ators of the fast mail route over the 
barren plains and through the dan- 
gerous mountains was nearly five 
hundred horses, one hundred and 
ninety stations, and eighty experi- 
enced riders, each of whom was to 
make an average of thirty-three and 
one-third miles. To accomplish this, 
each man used three ponies on his 
route, but in cases of great emer- 
gency much longer distances were 

As suggested by two members of 
the firm, when they protested that 
the business would not begin to meet 
the expenses, their prophecies proved 
true; but they were not disappointed, 
for one of the main objects of the 
institution of the express was to 
learn whether the line through which 
the express was carried could be made 
a permanent one for travel during all 
the seasons of the year. This was 
determined in the affirmative. 

In the spring of i860, BoHvar 



Roberts, superintendent of the west- 
ern division of the Pony Express, 
went to Carson City, Nevada, to 
engage riders and station agents for 
the Pony Express route across the 
Great Plains. In a few days fifty or 
sixty riders were engaged — men noted 
for their lithe, wiry physiques, bravery 
and coolness in moments of great 
personal danger, and endurance under 
the most trying circumstances of 
fatigue. Particularly were these re- 
quirements necessary in those who 
were to ride over the lonely route. It 
was no easy duty; horse and human 
flesh were strained to the limit of 
physical tension. Day or night, in 
sunshine or in storm, under the dark- 
est skies, in the pale moonlight, and 
with only the stars at times to guide 
him, the brave rider must speed on. 
Rain, hail, snow, or sleet, there was 
no delay; his precious burden of 
letters demanded his best efforts 
under the stern necessities of the 
hazardous service; it brooked no de- 
tention; on he must ride. Some- 
times his pathway led across level 
prairies, straight as the flight of an 
arrow. It was oftener a zigzag trail 
hugging the brink of awful precipices 
and dark, narrow canons infested 
with watchful savages, eager for the 
scalp of the daring man who had the 
temerity to enter their mountain 

At the stations the rider must be 
ever ready for emergencies; fre- 
quently double duty was assigned 
him. Perhaps he whom he was to 
relieve had been murdered by the 
Indians, or so badly wounded that it 
was impossible for him to take his 
tour; then the already tired express- 
man must take his place and be off 
like a shot, although he had been in 
the saddle for hours. 

The ponies employed in the service 

were splenilid specimens of speed and 
endurance; they were fed and housed 
with the greatest care, for their mettle 
must never fail the test to which 
it was put. Ten miles distance at the 
limit of the animal's pace was exacted 
from him, and he came dashing into 
the station flecked with foam, nos- 
trils dilated, and every hair reeking 
with perspiration, while his flanks 
thumped at every breath. 

Nearly two thousand miles in eight 
days must be made; there was no 
idling for man or beast. When the 
express rode up to the station, both 
rider and pon}'' were always ready. 
The only delay was a second or two 
as the saddle pouch with its precious 
burden was thrown on and the rider 
leaped into his place, then away they 
rushed down the trail, and in a 
moment were out of sight. 

Two hundred and fifty miles a day 
was the distance traveled by the 
Pony Express, and it may be assured 
the rider carried no surplus weight. 
Neither he nor his pony were handi- 
capped with anything that was not 
absolutely necessary. Even his case 
of precious letters made a bundle no 
larger than an ordinary writing tab- 
let, but there was $5 . 00 paid in 
advance for every letter transported 
across the continent. Their bulk 
was not in the least commensurable 
with their number; there were hun- 
dreds of them sometimes, for they 
were written on the thinnest tissue 
paper to be procured. There were 
no silly love missives among them nor 
frivolous correspondence of any kind ; 
business letters only that demanded 
the most rapid transit possible and 
warranted the immense expense at- 
tending their journey found their way 
by the Pony Express. 

The mail-bags were two pouches of 
leather, impervious to rain, sealed, and , 




strapped to tlu' rider's saddle before 
and behind. The pouches were never 
to contain over twenty pounds in 
weight. Inside the pouches, to fur- 
ther protect their contents from the 
weather, the letters and despatches 
were wrapped in oil silk, then sealed. 
The pockets themselves were locked, 
and were not opened between St. 
Joseph and Sacramento. 

The Pony Express, as a means of 
communication between the two 
remote coasts, was largely employed 
by the Government, merchants, and 
traders, and would eventuall}' have 
been a paying venture had not the 
construction of the telegraph across 
the continent usurped its usefulness. 

The arms of the Pony Express 
rider, in order to keep the weight at a 
minimum, were, as a rule, limited to 
revolver and knife. 

The first trip from St. Joseph to 
San Francisco, 1966 in exact miles, 
was made in ten days; the second, in 
fourteen ; the third, and many succeed- 
ing trips, in nine. The riders had a 
division of from one hundred to one 
hundred fortv miles, with relavs of 
horses at distances van^ng from 
twenty to twenty-five miles. 

In i860, the Pony Express made 
one trip from St. Joseph to Denver, 
625 miles, in two days and twenty-one 

The Pon)' Express riders received 
from Si 20 to $125 a month. But 
few men can appreciate the danger 
and excitement to which those daring 
and plucky men w^ere subjected; it 
can never be told in all its constant 
variety. They were men remarkable 
for their lightness of weight and 
energ}'. Their duty demanded the 
most consummate vigilance and agil- 
ity. Many among their number were 
skillful guides, scouts, and couriers, 
and had passed eventful lives on the 

Great Plains and in the Rocky Moun- 
tains. They possessed strong wills 
and a detennination that nothing in 
the ordinary course could balk. Their 
horses were generally half-breed Cali- 
fornia mustangs, as quick and full of 
endurance as their riders, and were as 
sure footed and fleet as a mountain 
goat; the facility and pace at which 
they traveled was a marvel. The 
Pony Express stations were scattered 
over a wild, desolate stretch of coun- 
try, 2,000 miles long. The trail was 
infested with "road agents" and hos- 
tile savages who roamed in formid- 
able bands, ready to murder and 
scalp with as little compunction as 
they would kill a bufTalo. 

Some portions of the dangerous 
route had to be covered at the 
astounding pace of twenty-five miles 
an hour, as the distance between 
stations was determined by the phys- 
ical character of the region. 

For the most part, the employes of 
the Pony Express were different from 
the plainsmen of the time, generally. 
The latter were usually boisterous, 
profane and intemperate. The organ- 
izers of the Pony Express were abste- 
mious, moral and truthful men, and 
they sought to have their employes 
observe a high standard of integrity. 

When the plans for the Pony Ex- 
press had been sufficiently matured and 
all was in readiness to start on the day 
set, the enterprising firm that had 
organized the enterprise, and which 
owned it entirelv and without Govern- 
ment subsidy, or other, that is to say 
the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, 
through Mr. Russell, who was the most 
enthusiastic and insistent, at first, of 
the members, caused the following 
advertisement to be published in the 
"NewYork Herald" of March 26, i860, 
and the "Missouri Republican" of St. 
Louis, on the same date: 




- )BY( - 


The first courier of the- Pony Express 
will leave the Missouri River on Tuesday, 
April 3d, at 5 o'clock p. m., and will rvm 
regularly weekly thereafter, carrying a 
letter mail only. The point of departure 
on the Missouri River will be in telegraphic 
communication with the East and will be 
announced in due time. 

Telegraphic messages from all parts of 
the United States and Canada, in connec- 
tion with the point of departure will be 
received up to 5 o'clock p. m. of the day 
of leaving, and transmitted over the 
Placerville and St. Joseph telegraph wire 
to San Francisco and intermediate points, 
by the connecting express in eight days. 
The letter mail will be deli\-ercd in San 
Francisco in ten days from the departure 
of the Express. The express passes 
through Forts Kearney, Laramie, and 
Bridgcr, Great Salt Lake City, Camp 
FloN'd, Carson City, the Washoe Silver 
Mines, Placerville, and Sacramento. 

Letters for Oregon, Washington Terri- 
tory, British Columbia, the Pacific Mexican 
ports, Russian possessions. Sandwich 
Islands, China, Japan, and India will be 
mailed in San Francisco. 

Special inessengers, bearers of letters to 
connect with the express of the 3d of 
April, will recei\-e communications for 
the courier of that day at \o. 481 Tenth 
Street, Washington City, up to 2 .45 p. m. 
on Friday, March 30, and in New York, 
at the office of J. B. Simpson, Room No. 8, 
Continental Bank Building, Nassau Street, 
up to 6 . 30 a. m. of March 3 ist. 

Full particulars can be obtained on 
application at the above place and agents 
of the Company. 

W. H. RUSSELL, President. 
Leavenworth City, Kansas, March, i860. 

Office in New York, J. B. Simpson, Vice- 

Samuel & Allen, Agents, St. Louis. 
H. J. Spaulding, Agent, Chicago. 

The Civil War began in nine 
months after the Pony Express was 
started, and never has news been 
more anxiously awaited than on the 
Pacific Coast during the existence 
of this enterprise. The first tidings 
of the attack on Fort Sumter was 
sent by the Pony Express, and its 
connections, to San Francisco in 
eight days, fourteen hours. From 
that time on a bonus was given by 
California business men and public 
officials to the Pony Express Com- 
pany to be distributed among the 
riders for carrying war news as fast 
as possible. For bringing the news 
of the battle of Antietam to Sacra- 
mento one day earlier than usual, 
in 1 86 1, a purse of S300 extra was 
collected for the riders. 

During the last few weeks preced- 
ing the termination of the Pony 
Express, by the opening of the trans- 
continental telegraph, the express 
riders brought an average of 700 
letters per week from the Pacific 
coast. In those last few weeks, after 
the telegraph had been completed to 
Fort Kearney, the "pony" rates were 
reduced to $ i . 00 per half ounce, 
and each letter was enclosed in a 10- 
cent Government stamped envelope 
for each half ounce, and this was the 
only financial interest the Govern- 
ment had, at any time, in the Pony 
Express enterprise, until the remnant 
of it was transferred by Russell, 
Majors & Waddell to the Wells- 
Fargo Company. 

In all the trips across the conti- 
nent, and the 650,000 miles ridden by 
the -Pony Express riders of the Rus- 
sell, Majors & Waddell Company, 
the record is that only one mail was 
lost, and that a comparatively small 
and unimportant one. 

Notwithstanding that the packages 
. of letters were wrapped in oil silk, 



they were sometimes injured by 
water when, occasionally, a rider was 
forced to swim his horse across a 
swollen stream. Once under such 
circumstances the horse was drowned, 
but the rider, with his mail, esca])ed. 

When, on one occasion, the rider 
was killed by Indians, the pony 
escaped with the letter pouch which 
was subset juenth' recovered, and the 
letters were ])romptly forwarded to 
their destination. 


A vV 



James Buchanan' 

President of the United 

Slates in those davs 

THE day of the first start, on 
the 3d of April, i860, at noon, 
says Colonel Majors, Harry Roff, 
mounted on a spirited half-breed 
broncho, left Sacramento on his peril- 
ous ride, covering the first twenty 

miles, including 
one change, in 
fifty-nine min- 
utes. On reach- 
ing Folsom he 
changed again 
and started for 
Placerville at 
the foot of the 
Sierra Nevada 
Mountains, fifty- 
five miles dis- 
tant. There he 
connected with "Boston," who took 
the route to Friday's Station, crossing 
the eastern summit of the Sierra 
Nevada. Sam Hamilton next fell 
into line and pursued his way to 
Genoa, Carson City, Dayton, Reed's 
Station, and Fort Churchill, seventy- 
five miles. The entire run was made 
in fifteen hours and twenty-minutes, 
the entire distance being 185 miles, 
which included the crossing of the 
western summit of the Sierra Nevada 
through thirty feet of snow! Here 
Robert Haslam took the trail from 
Fort Churchill to Smith's Creek, 120 
miles through a hostile Indian coun- 
try. From that point Jay G. Kelley 
rode from Smith's Creek to Ruby 
Valley, Utah, 116 miles. From Ruby 
Valley to Deep Creek, H. Richardson, 
105 miles. From Deep Creek to Rush 
Valley, old Camp Floyd, 80 miles; 
from Camp Floyd to Salt Lake City, 

50 miles, the end of the western 
division — in all 130 miles — was rid- 
den by George Thacher. 

On the same day, and the same 
moment, Mr. Russell superintended 
the start of the Pony Express from its 
eastern terminus. An arrangement 
had been made with the railroads 
between New York and St. Joseph 
for a fast train which was scheduled 
to arrive with the mail at the proper 
time. The Hannibal & St. Joseph 
Railroad also ran a special engine, 
and the boat which made the crossing 
of the Missouri River was detained for 
the purpose of instantly transferring 
the letters. Mr. Russell in person 
adjusted the letter pouch on the pony. 
Many of the enthusiastic crowd, who 
had congregated to witness the inau- 
guration of the fast mail, plucked 
hairs from the hardy little animal's 
tail as talismans of good luck. In a 
few seconds the rider was mounted, 
the steamboat gave an encouraging 
whistle, and the pony dashed away 
on his long journey to the next sta- 

There has l)een much discussion 
among those interested as to who rode 
the first horse out of St. Joseph at the 
opening of the Pony E.xpress service, 
many claiming that the rider was 
John Frey. Mr. Huston Wyeth, a 
native of St. Joseph, and one of the 
most distinguished citizens of Mis- 
souri, wrote to his friend, J. H. Keet- 
ley, one of the first of the Pony 
Express riders, now at the head of an 
extensive mining concern at Salt Lake 
City, Utah, and Mr. Keetley replied 
in the following letter, a copy of which 




Mr. Wyeth gave to the author of this 
book : *■ 

Salt Lake City, Utah, Aujj^ust 2 i, 1907 
Mr. Huston Wyeth, 
St. Joseph, Mo. 
Dear Sir: — of the 17th inst. received, 
and in reply will say that Alex Carlyle 
was the first man to ride the Pony 
Exj^ress oijt of St. Joe. He was a 
nephew of the superintendent of the 
stage line to Denver, called the 
"Pike's Peak Express." The superin- 
tendent's name was Ben Fickland. 
Carlyle was a consum]:)tive, and 
could not stand the hardships, and 
retired after about two months trial, 
and died within about six months 
after retiring. John Frye was the 
second rider, and I was the third, and 
Gus Cliff was the fourth. 

J. H. Keeti.ev 
When he was a Pony Express Rider 

I made the longest ride without a 
stop, only to change horses. It was 
said to be 300 miles, and was done a 
few minutes inside of twenty-four 
hotirs. I do not vouch for the dis- 
tance being correct, as I only have it 
from the division superintendent, 
A. E. Lewis, who said that the dis- 
tance given was taken, by his English 

roadometer which was attached to the 
front wheel of his buggy which he 
used to travel over his division with, 
and which was from St. Joe to Fort 
Kearney. The ride was made from 
Big Sandy to Ellwood, opposite St. 
Joe, carrying the eastgoing mail, and 
returning with the westbound mail 
to Seneca without a stop, not taking 
time to eat, but eating my lunch as I 
rode. No one else came within sixty 
miles of equaling this ride, and their 
time was much slower. The Pony 
Express, if I remember correctly, 
started at 4 o'clock \). m., April 16, 
i860, with Alex Carlyle riding a nice 
brown mare, and the people came 
near taking all the hair out of the 
])oor beast's tail for souvenirs. His 
ride was to Guittard's, 125 miles from 
St. Joe. He rode this once a week. 
The mail started as a weekly delivery, 
and then was increased to semi- 
weekly inside of two months. The 
horses, or relays, were supposed to be 
placed only ten miles apart, and 
traveled a little faster than ten miles 
per hour so as to allow time to change, 
but this could not always be done, as 
it was difficult then in the early 
settlement of the country to find 
places where one could get feed and 
shelter for man and beast, and some- 
times horses had to go twenty-five 
to thirty miles, but in such cases 
there were more horses placed at such 
stations to do the work, and they did 
not go as often as the horses on the 
shorter runs. At the start the men 
rode from 100 to 125 miles, but after 
the semi-weekly started, they rode 
about 75 or 80 miles. My ride and 
those of the other boys out of St. 
Joe was 125 miles, to Guittard's, but 
later we only rode to Seneca, eighty 
miles. The first pony started from 
the one-story brick express office on 
the east side of Third Street, between 
Felix and Edmond streets, but the 
office was afterwards moved to the 
Patee House. At 7 o'clock a. m. we 
were ordered from the stables two 
blocks east of the Patee House by the 
firing of a cannon in front of the 
Patee House which was the signal for 
the ferry boat to come from Ellwood 
and to lie in waiting at the landing 



until our arrival. We rode into the 
office and put on the mail, which con- 
sisted of four small leather sacks six 
by twelve inches, fastened on to a 
square macheir which was put over 
the saddle. The sacks were locked 
with little brass locks much like one 
sees to-day on dog collars, and the 
sacks were sewed to the macheir, one 
in front and one behind each leg of the 
rider. When the mail was put on, 
and the rider mounted on his race 
horse, which was always used out of 
St. Joe to the Troy Station, nine miles 
from EUwood, he bounded out of the 
office door and down the hill at full 
speed, when the cannon was fired 
again to let the boat know that the 
pony had started, and it was then 
that all St. Joe, great and small, were 
on the sidewalks to see the pony go 
by, and particularly so on the route 
that they knew the pony was sure 
to take. We always rode out of town 
with silver mounted trappings deco- 
rating both man and horse and regu- 
lar uniforms with plated horn, pistol, 
scabbard, and belt, etc., and gay 
flower-worked leggings and plated 
jingling spurs resembling, for all the 
world, a fantastic circus rider. This 
was all changed, however, as soon as 
we got on to the boat. We had a 
room in which to change and to leave 
the trappings in until our return. If 
we returned in the night, a skiff or 
yawl was always ready and a man 
was there to row us across the river, 
and to put the horse in a little stable 
on the bank opposite St. Joseph. 
Each rider had a key to the stable. 
The next day we would go to the boat, 
cross the river, bring our regular horse 
and our trappings across to the St. 
Joe side. We stayed in St. Joe about 
three days and in Seneca about the 
same length of time, but this depend- 
ed pretty much on the time that we 
received the mail from the West. 
The Pony Express was never started 
with a view to making it a paying 
investment. It was a put-up job to 
change the then Overland mail route 
which was running through Arizona 
on the southern route, changed to run 
by way of Denver and Salt Lake City, 
where Ben Holladay had a stage 

line running tri-weekly to Denver and 
weekly to Salt Lake. The object of 
the Pony Express was to show the 
authorities at Washington that by 
way of Denver and Salt Lake to 
Sacramento was the shortest route, 
and the job worked successfully, and 
Ben Holladay secured the mail con- 
tract from the Missouri River to Salt 
Lake, and the old southern route 
people took it from Salt Lake City to 
Sacramento. As soon as this was 
accomplished and the contract 
awarded, the pony was taken off, it 
having fulfilled its mission. Perhaps 
the war also had much to do with 
changing the route at that time. I 
hope the data I have given you will 
be satisfactory and of value to you. 
I have been asked for it many times, 
but have always refused. You will 
please excuse me for not sending my 
photo or allowing my people at home 
to furnish the old daugerrotype there 
that was taken when I made the ride 
as I am much opposed to publicity 
and newspaper notoriety or any 
other puffs, but it is impossible to 
always keep clear of reporters and to 
keep them from saying something. 
I will add that the letters were all 
wrapped in oil silk, in case the pony 

A PkESSI.Vr. SlTlMlliN 


blazim; the WEsiwwRn way 

had to swim, to keej) the mail dr>-, 
and llie regular charge was $5.00 a 
half ounce. 

Yours trul\ , 


The route of the riders from St. 
Jose[)h, after crossing the Missouri 
River, lay a little southwest until it 
struck th^ old military road forty- 
four miles out, at Kennekuk, then it 
turned a little northwesterly across 
the Kickapoo Indian Reservation, by 
the way of Grenada, Logchain, Sen- 
eca, Ash Point, Guittard's, Marys- 
ville, Hollenburg, \x\) Little Blue 
Valley to Rock Creek, Big Sandy, 
Liberty Farm, over prairies to Thirty- 
two-mile Creek, across the divide, 
over sand hills and prairies to Platte 
River, and due west up that valley to 
Keame}-. This was the trail taken 
by the Mormons in 1847, '^•''^1 after- 
ward by the gold seekers to California 
in 1848-9, and by General Albert 
Sidney Johnston and his army of 
5.000 men, who marched from Fort 
Leavenworth to Salt Lake Cit>' in 

From Fort Kearney the train led 
westward 200 miles along the Platte 
to old Julesburg, then across the 

J. H. Keetley 
As he is to-day, a prosperous Salt Lake business man. 

South Fork of the Platte northwest- 
erly to Fort Laramie, then over the 
foothills at the base of the Rockies 
to South Pass, by Fort Bridger to 
Salt Lake. Thence by the route of 
the riders from the Sacramento end, 
as given heretofore, to the steamer 
at Sacramento for San Francisco. 

Of the riders from the St. Joseph 
start, after those mentioned by J. H. 
Keetley in his letter to Mr. Wyeth, 
printed earlier in this chapter, Alex 
Carlyle, John Frye, Keetley himself, 
and Gus Clifif; the first named died of 
consumption shortly after the service 
was inaugurated. Frye joined the 
Union army as a member of Gen. 
Blunt 's scouts, and was killed in 
Arkansas in 1863 in a hand-to-hand 
fight with a company' of "Arkansas 
rangers" in which battle he killed 
with his own hand, before being 
overcome, no less than five of his 
antagonists. Gus Clifif died in Los 
Angeles, California, in 1865, of bron- 
chitis, while serving with a govern- 
ment freighting outfit. 

Melville Baughn was another of 
the riders who alternated with Car- 
lyle, Frye, Keetley, and ClifT from 
St. Joseph to Seneca, but after- 
ward transferred to the Fort Kearney 
and Thirty-two-mile Creek. Once on 
this run his pony was stolen. Baughn 
followed the thief to Loup Creek, 
secured his pony, and rode back to 
Kearney where he found the mail 
pouch and finished his trip, a little 
behind schedule time. The record 
is that Baughn, a few years after- 
ward, lost his life at the hands of the 
law, at Seneca, upon a charge of 

Jim Beatley, whose name "in the 
States" was Foote, rode from Seneca 
to Big Sandy, fifty miles, and doubled 
his route twice a week. He was a 
native of Richmond, Va., and was 



killed in a quarrel at Farrell's ranch 
in Southern Nebraska in 1862, by an 
Overland employe named Milt Hotter. 

"Will Boulton, who rode opposite to 
Beatley, was living in Minnesota at 
last accounts. Once while Boulton 
was within five miles of his station, 
Guittard's, his pony becoming dis- 
abled, he was forced to abandon the 
animal and "foot it" with his pouch 
and accoutrements to the station, 
where he received another mount and 
completed his trip. 

Don C. Rising for a time rode from 
Big Sandy to Fort Kearney. He was 
not seventeen, but it is reported that 
he made two runs, on special orders, 
when he averaged twenty miles an 
hour. He was from Steuben County, 
N. Y., and now resides at Wetmore, 

"Little Yank" rode between Cot- 
tonwood Springs and Julesburg, and 
often covered 100 miles at a trip. 
He weighed not over one hundred 
pounds, and was twenty-five years 

Hogan was the name of the rider 
from Julesburg to Mud Springs, near 
historical Chimney Rock, about eigh- 
ty miles. He lives somewhere in 

Theodore Rand's run was no 
miles, from Box Elder to Julesburg. 
He covered the entire distance always 
at night. He was a Pony Express 
rider from the time the system was 
inaugurated until it was withdrawn. 
While the schedule time was ten 
miles an hour, he generally averaged 
twelve miles an hour. When he 
first went on the line he rode each 
animal twenty -five miles, but later 
he was given a fresh horse every fif- 
teen miles. Rand is now a railroad 
man living at Atchison, Kansas. 
James Moore, whose most remarkable 
, rides and adventures are mentioned 

Col. W. F. Uodv 
As he was in Union Pacific Building Days. 

elsewhere in these chronicles, w^as 
one of the riders between St. Joseph 
and Salt Lake, as was W. F. Cody, 
who is also spoken of at length in a 
separate chapter. 

Bill Cates was one of the riders 
along the Platte who had many excit- 
ing adventures with Indians. 

James W. Brink was one of the 
early mail-carriers on the plains, and 
was one of the first Pony Express 
riders on the eastern half. He was 
known as "Dock" among the early 
stage drivers, and was with Hickok — 
Wild Bill— in the fight at Rock Creek 
Station when five of the McCandless 
band of outlaws were killed. 

Upon the day of this writing the 
author talked with Charles Cliff — 
brother of Gus Cliff — at St. Joseph, 
Mo., where he is engaged in mer- 
chandizing. Charles was only seven- 
teen when he was a Pony Express 
rider, and he was one of the most 



daring. He rode on alternate days 
from St. Joseph to Seneca, and gen- 
erally covered his eighty miles in 
eight hours. Three years after the 
closing of the Pony Express enter- 
prise he was freighting on the plains 
and one day became engaged in a 
battle with Indians. In this fight he 
received three bullets in his body and 
lwenty-s6ven more in his clothes. 
His party, composed of the men neces- 
sary to the piloting of nine wagons, 
was besieged three days by a war band 
of I CO Sioux, which was held at bay 
until the arrival of a large train with 
men enough to put the Indians to 

Will D. Jenkins, now a distin- 
guished citizen of Washington State 
residing at Olympia, the capital, and 
who has frequently held high office 
in that commonwealth, was at times 
employed as a Pony Express rider, 
his home being at Big Sandy, Ne- 
braska, in those days. Writing of 
the Pony Express he says: 

"Although only a substitute, I 
shall always retain a certain degree of 
pride in the fact that I rode stations 
on the old Pony Express, and that at 
a time and place when it was far safer 
to be at home. I remember also 
Bob Emery's wild stage drive from 
'The Narrows.' I was an eye wit- 
ness of that exciting event. During 
my boyhood days on the plains I wit- 
nessed many exciting chases, but 
none that would compare with that 
wild drive. One Sioux warrior 
mounted on a fleeter pony than the 
other Indians would make a com- 
plete circle of the stage, and at each 
circle would send in a volley of 
arrows. But Bob succeeded in land- 
ing his passengers at the station, none 
of them injured." 

Captain Levi Hensel has been for 
^ many years an honored citizen of 

Pueblo, Colorado, and is well known 
to this writer. He says in a letter: 

"I liad the contract to shoe the, 
Overland stage and Pony Express 
horses that ran from Kennekuk to 
Big Sandy uj) to the time that I 
threw down my hammer and went 
into the army. I missed the best 
three years to make money by doing 
so, but don't regret that I helped to 
save the Union. Sometimes they ran 
ponies in from Fort Kearney and 
beyond to be shod. The animals that 
John Frye and Jim Beatley used to 
ride were the worst imps of Satan in 
the business. The only way that I 
could master them was to throw them 
and get a rope around each foot, 
stake them out, and have a man on 
the head and another on the body, 
while I trimmed the hoofs and nailed 
on the shoes. They would squeal 
and bite all the time I was working 
with them. It generally took half 
a day to shoe one of them. But 
travel! They seemed never to get 
tired. I knew John Frye to ride 
one of them fifty miles without 
change. He was about as tough as 
the ponies, and Jim Beatley was 
another oflf the same piece. Jim was 
murdered in some sort of a cowboy 
row up the road, and poor Johnnie 
Frye was killed on the Canadian 
River by bushwhackers. I saw him 
within a few minutes after he was 
killed. He was one of General 
Blunt 's sharp-shooters, along with 
W. S. Tough, John Sinclair, and other 
of the pony riders who had turned 
soldier. We were returning from 
chasing Stan Watie and gang through 
the Indian Nation, almost to Bogy 
Depot, Texas. The scouts ran into 
a band of Indian bushwhackers at 
Canadian Crossing. Frye was one of 
the most noted of all the Pony Ex- 
press riders, and had many hair- 


breadth escapes from Indians on the row passes and along the steep 

plains. He never knew what fear defiles, Utah, Fort Bridger, Salt Lake 

was, and several times made runs City, he witches Brigham with his 

through hostile bands when others swift pony-ship — through the valleys, 

weakened." along the grassy slopes, into the snow. 

The large newspapers of both New into sand, faster than Thor's Thialfi, 

York and the Pacific Coast were away they go, rider and horse — did 

ready patronizers of the Express. The you see them? 

issues of their papers were printed on "They are in California, leaping 

tissue manufactured purposely for over its golden sands, treading its 

this novel way of transmitting the busy streets. The courser has un- 

news. On the arrival of the pony rolled to us the great American pano- 

from the West, the news brought rama, allowed us to glance at the 

from the Pacific and along the route home of one million people, and has 

of the trail was telegraphed from St. put a girdle around the earth in forty 

Joseph to the East the moment the minutes. Verily the riding is like 

animal arrived with his important the riding of Jehu, the son of Ximshi, 

budget. for he rideth furiously. Take out 

To form some idea of the enthu- your watch. We are eight days from 

siasm created by the inauguration of New York, eighteen from London, 

the Pony Express, the St. Joseph The race is to the swift." 

Free Democrat said in relation to this The expenses of the Pony Express 

novel method of carrying the news during the part of two years that it 

across the continent: was operated were, approximately, as 

"Take down your map and trace follows: 

the footprints of our quadrupedantic Equipping the line 

animal: From St. Joseph, on the Maintenance, $30,000 per 

Missouri, to San Francisco, on the ^. "^°?^^- ' ' •' ' ' W- 480,000 

_^ , 1-1 Nevada Indian W ar 7 5.000 

Golden Horn— two thousand miles— Miscellaneous 45,000 

more than half the distance across _ 

our boundless continent; through $700,000 

Kansas, through Nebraska, by Fort While it is true that the receipts did 

Kearney, along the Platte, by Fort not reach as high as $1,000 per trip, 

Laramie, past the Buttes, over the in all they did not exceed $500,000, 

Rocky Mountains, through the nar- leaving a net loss of $200,000. 

^r -wi- 




^>\ ^ 

A Flanr Movement 

OF the brave deeds, stirring inci- 
dents, and romantic adventures 
of the gallant riders of the West, and 
especially of the Pony Express riders 
and other employes of that unique 
organization, volumes have been 
written, and much must forever 
remain unwritten, as it cannot ever 
be known. Nearly all of the partici- 
pants in the memorable enterprise 
have "gone over the Divide," and the 
bullet of Indian or border ruffian 
"blue penciled" many a story that 
would have been startling, ere the 
man who knew it best could turn it in. 
Perhaps the greatest physical 
achievement of all the performances of 
the horsemen of the West, as a matter 
of endurance, was the ride of F. X. Au- 
brey from the plaza of Santa Fe, N. M., 
to the puVjlic square at Independence, 
Mo., a distance of nearly 800 miles, 

through a country inhabited by warlike 
Indians, a large part of which was then 
a sandy desert. It was about the year 
185 1 that Aubrey gave his wonderful 
test of human endurance, before 
which all other attempts of the kind 
pale into insignificance. He was a 
short, heavy set man, thirty-eight 
years of age, in the prime of manhood 
and strength. His business for ten 
years as a Santa Fe trader had made 
him perfectly familiar with the trail 
and all the stopping places. He was 
a perfect horseman, and although 
there were great riders in those days, 
none of them cared to dispute the 
palm with Aubrey. On a wager of 
$1,000, he undertook to ride alone 
from Santa Fe to Independence 
inside of six days. It was fifty-five 
years ago that he undertook the 
terrible feat. It was to be the 




supreme effort of his life, and he sent 
half a dozen of the swiftest horses 
ahead to be stationed at the different 
points for use in the ride. He left 
Santa Fe in a sweeping gallop, and 
that was the pace kept up during 
every hour of the time until he fell 
fainting from his foam-covered horse 
in the square at Independence. No 
man could keep up with the rider, 
and he would have killed every horse 
in the line rather than to have 
failed in the undertaking. It took 
him just five days and nineteen hours 
to perform the feat, and it cost the 
lives of several of his best horses. 
After being carried into a room at the 
old hotel at Independence, Aubrey 
lay for forty-eight hours in a dead 
stupor. He would never have recov- 
ered from the shock had it not been 
for his wonderful constitution. The 
feat was unanimously regarded by 
western men as the greatest exhibi- 
tion of strength and endurance ever 
known on the plains. 

The ride of Jim Moore, a noted 
frontiersman of the pioneer days, was 
another remarkable performance. 
Moore was a man of almost perfect 
physique; in fact, by military stand- 
ards he was a model. He weighed 
1 60 pounds, stood five feet ten inches, 
straight as an arrow, with good neck 
well set on his shoulders, small waist, 
but good loins, and had the limbs of a 
thoroughbred. No finer looking man 
physically ever rode a broncho than 
Jim Moore. He could run like an 
Indian, was as active as a panther, 
the best natured man in the world, 
but as courageous as a lion. He was 
one of the first Pony Express riders. 

His route was from Midway Sta- 
tion, half way between Fort Kearney 
and Cottonwood Springs, to Julcs- 
burg, a distance of 140 miles. Moore 
rode the round-trip of 280 miles once 

a week. The stations were from ten 
to fourteen miles apart, and a fresh 
horse, Spanish blood, was obtained 
at each station. There was little 
delay in these changes of horses, as 
the rider gave the "coyote yell" half 
a mile away, and, day or night, the 
station men had the pony ready, so 
that the rider had only to dismount 
from one horse, saddle and mount the 
other, and with a dig of his spurs, he 
was on a run again . On each route there 
were two express riders, one going 
each way. As easy as it may seem 
to ^ome for a man to bestride horse 
after horse for 140 miles, there were 
few men able to endure it. Upon 
the occasion of which I speak, 
Moore's route partner had been ailing 
and Moore was anticipating and 
dreading that he might have to 
double the route. In this anticipa- 
tion he realized that there is a time 
limit to endurance, and therefore he 
gave the "bronchos" a little more of 
the steel than usual and made the trip 
to Julesburg in eleven hours. Arriv- 
ing at Julesburg, he had his fears 
confirmed. His partner was in bed. 
He had hoped that he might have a 
few hours for rest, but before he had 
time to dismount and stretch his 
cramped and tired muscles, the 
"coyote yell" of the east-going rider 
was heard. He drank some cold 
coffee, filled his pocket with cold 
meat, and was in the saddle again for 
another 140-mile ride. In order to 
be able to live the route out, he sent 
his ponies for all there was in them, 
with the result that he arrived at 
Midway after having ridden 280 
miles in twenty-two hours from the 
time he had left there. Ben Holladay 
gave him a gold watch and a certifi- 
cate of this remarkable performance. 
Many of the old frontiersmen now 
living knew Moore, knew of his 280- 



mile ride in twenty-two hours, and 
have seen the watch and certificate. 

J. G. Kclley, one of the veteran 
riders, now hving in Denver, tells his 
story of those eventful days, when he 
rode over the lonely trail carrying 
despatches for Russell, Majors and 

"Yes," he said, "I was a Pony 
Express rider in i860, and went out 
with Bolivar Roberts, and I tell you 

to protect us from the Indians. As 
there were no rocks or logs in that 
vicinity, it was built of adobes, made 
from the mud on the shores of the 
lake. To mix this and get it to the 
proper consistency to mould into 
adobes, we tramped all day in our 
bare feet. This we did for a week or 
more, and the mud being strongly 
impregnated witli alkali carbonate of 
soda, you can imagine the condition 

The Last Statio.m 

it was no picnic. No amount of 
money could tempt me to repeat my 
experience of those days. To begin 
with, we had to build willow roads, 
corduroy fashion, across many places 
along the Carson River, carrying 
bundles of willows two and three 
hundred yards in our arms, while 
the mosquitoes were so thick that it 
was difficult to tell whether the man 
was white or black, so thickly were 
they piled on his neck, face, and arms. 
"Arriving at the Sink of the Carson 
River, we began the erection of a fort 

of our feet. They were much swollen 
and resembled hams. We next built 
a fort at Sand Springs, twenty miles 
from Carson Lake, and another at 
Cold Springs, thirty-seven miles east 
of Sand Springs. At the latter sta- 
tion I was assigned to duty as assis- 
tant station-keeper, under Jim Mc- 

"The war against the Pi-Ute Indi- 
ans was then at its height, and as we 
were in the middle of their country, it 
became necessary for us to keep a 
standing guard night and day. The 



Indians were often skulking around, 
but none of them ever came near 
enough for us to get a shot at him, till 
one dark night when I was on guard, 
I noticed one of our horses prick up 
his ears and stare. I looked in the 
direction indicated and saw an Indi- 
an's head projecting above the wall. 
My instructions were to shoot if I -saw 
an Indian within rifle range, as that 
would wake the boys quicker than 
anything else; so I fired and missed 
my man. 

"Later on we saw the Indian camp- 
fires on the mountain and in the 
mornins: manv tracks. ' Thev evi- 
dently intended to stampede our 
horses, and if necessary kill us. The 
next day one of our riders, a Mexican, 
rode into camp with a bullet hole 
through him from the left to the right 
side, having been shot by Indians 
while coming down Edwards Creek, 
in the Quaking Aspen Bottom. He 
was tenderly cared for, but died before 
surgical aid could reach him. 

"As I was the lightest man at the 
station, I was ordered to take the 
Mexican's place on the route. My 
weight was then one hundred pounds, 
while I now weigh one hundred and 
thirty. Two days after taking the 
route, on my return trip, I had to ride 
through the forest of quaking aspen 
where the Mexican had been shot. 
A trail had been cut through these 
little trees, just wide enough to allow 
horse and rider to pass. As the road 
was crooked and the branches came 
together from either side, just above 
my head when mounted, it was impos- 
sible for me to see ahead for more 
than ten or fifteen yards, and it was 
two miles through the forest. I 
expected to have trouble, and pre- 
pared for it by dropping my bridle- 
reins on the neck of the horse, putting 
» my Sharp's rifle at full cock, and 

keeping botli my spurs into the pony's 
flanks, and he went through that 
forest 'like a streak of greased light- 

"At the top of the hill I dismounted 
to rest my horse, and looking back 
saw the bushes moving in several 
places. As there were no cattle or 
game in that vicinity, I Knew the 
movements to be caused by Indians, 
and was more positive of it, when, 
after firing several shots at the spot 
where I saw the bushes in motion, all 
agitation ceased. Several days after 
that two United States soldiers, who 
wer^ on their way to their command, 
were shot and killed from the ambu?h 
of those bushes, and stripped of their 
clothing by the red devils. 

"One of my rides was the longest on 
the route. I refer to the road be- 
tween Cold Springs and Sand Springs, 
thirty-seven miles, and not a drop of 
water. It was on this ride that I 
made a trip which possibly gave to 
our company the contract for carry- 
ing the mail by stage coach across the 
Plains, a contract that was largely 
subsidized by Congress. 

"One day I trotted into Sand 
Springs covered with dust and per- 
spiration. Before I reached the sta- 
tion, I saw a number of men running 
toward me, all carrying rifles, and one 
of them with a wave of his hand said, 
'All right, you poot}^ good boy; you 
go.' I did not need a second order, 
and as quickly as possible rode out of 
their presence, looking back, however, 
as long as they were in sight, and 
keeping my rifle handy. 

"As I look back on those times I 
often wonder that we were not all 
killed. A short time before. Major 
Ormsby of Carson City, in command 
of seventy-five or eighty men, went 
to Pyramid Lake to give battle to the 
Pi-Utes, who had been killing emi- 


grants and prospectors by tlic whole- simply repetition, yet one required as 

sale. Nearly all of the command much dash and nerve as another, 

were killed. Another regiment of The service created the greatest 

about seven hundred men. under the enthusiasm, not only among the 

command of Colonel Daniel E. Hun- riders, but among all others of the 

gcrford and Jack Hayes, the noted employes and all along the route, and 

Texas ranger, was raised. Hunger- to aid a "pony" in trouble was jumped 

ford was the beau-ideal of a soldier, at as a high privilege. For instance, 

as he was already the hero of three on the first trip the west-bound 

wars, and one of the best tacticians rider, between Folsom's and Sacra- 

of his time. This command drove the mento, was thrown and his leg 

Indians pell-mell for three miles to broken. A stage of the Wells-Fargo 

Mud Lake, killing and wounding them Company found him in this plight, 

at every jump. Colonel Hungerford and the special agent of the stage 

and Jack Hayes received, and were company volunteered to finish the 

entitled to, great praise, for at the ride, which he succeeded in doing so 

close of the war terms were made well as to arrive at Sacramento only 

which have kept the Indians peace- one hour and thirty minutes late, 

able ever since. Jack Hayes died Tliis agent was J. G. McCall who was 

several years ago in Alameda, Cali- for many years afterward the Pacific 

fornia. Colonel Hungerford, at the Coast agent of the Erie Railroad, 

ripe age of seventy years, is hale and McCall often afterward told of the 

hearty, enjoying life and resting on great reception that he got at Sacra- 

his laurels in Italy, where he resides mento, and how the whole town 

with his grand-daughter, the Princess turned out to enthusiastically wel- 

Colonna. come him. 

"As previously stated, it is mar- The service also created much inter- 

velous that the pony boys were not est among Eastern newspapers, the 

all killed. There were only four men more prominent of which kept repre- 

at each station, and the Indians, who sentatives at St. Joe to collect news 

were then hostile, roamed over the from this source. Henry Villard, 

country in bands of from thirty to a afterward president of the Northern 

hundred. Pacific, was at the time under con- 

"What I consider my most narrow sideration the representative of the 

escape from death was being shot at New York Tribune, 

by a lot of fool emigrants, who, when Beside "Buffalo Bill" and "Pony 

I took them to task about it on my Bob," written of at length later in 

return trip, excused themselves, by these chronicles, those of the pony 

saying 'We thought you was an riders who have been heard of within 

Indian.' " the last few years are these: 

Stories of the pony express riders. Jay G. Kelley was captain of Co. C, 

their adventures with Indians and First Nevada Infantry, during the 

outlaws, and "hairbreadth 'scapes by Civil War, after which he resumed the 

field and flood" could be told at business of mining and was engaged at 

sufficient length to fill a hundred that at last accounts. Sam and Jim 

volumes as large as this, but many of Gilson long ago became millionaires at 

them were so much alike that they mining in Utah. Mike Kelley became. 

would appear in the narration to be a successful miner at Austin, Nevada. » 



Jim Bucklin, "Black Sam," Jim and 
Bill McXaughton died many years 
ago. Bill Can- was hanged at Carson, 
Nevada, for the murder of Bernard 
Cherry, his being the first legal exe- 
cution in that territory. H. J. Faust, 
became a prominent physician in 
Utah. Of "Irish Tom" and Jose 
Zongoltz, nothing has been learned 
since the service ended. 

Among other noted Pony Express 
riders, not specially mentioned else- 
where in these pages, were Jim Clark, 
George Spurr, Henry Wallace, George 
Towne, Jim McDonald, "Wm. James, 
John Burnett, Jim Bucklin, Wm. 
Carr, Wm. Carrigan, Major Egan, 
J. K. Ellis, H. J. Faust, John Fisher 
Jim Gentry, Jim Gilson, Sam Gilson, 
Lee Huntington, James William, Bob 
Martin, J. G. McCall, Jim McXaugh- 
ton. Josh Perkins, Johnson Richard- 
son, Bart Riles, George Thacher, 
Henry Wallace, Dan Wescott, and 
as many more whose names and gal- 
lant deeds are lost from the records 
as have been the names and deeds 
of thousands of other heroes who 
helped to ■ make the great West the 
rich heritage of pioneer valor, endur- 
ance, and enterprise. 

Among the humorous incidents 
associated with the Pony Express 


was one associated with "Artemus 

Ward" — 

Charles Farrar 

Browne — that 

has come to be 

a joke classic. 

Artemus was 
at the zenith 
of his fame as a 
humorous writer 
and lecturer at 
the time of the 
starting of the 
Pony Express. Thomas Maguire, 
the most prominent promoter of 
amusements in San Francisco at that 
time, desired to employ Ward for a 
series of entertainments in California. 
He sent one of the expensive dis- 
patches from San Francisco to New 
York asking Ward: 

"What will you take for a hundred 

Ward promptly responded, by the 
same means : 

"Brandy and water." 

Artemus made the trip to Cali- 
fornia, going by steamer via Panama, 
and returning overland. The engage- 
ment was profitable and hilarious to 
Artemus and Maguire, and gave much 
joy to the genial humorist's audiences 
everywhere, en route. 




"Pony Bob" — from a painting by H. H. Cross 
The rider is pictured as carrying the news of Lincoln's election as President, riding 120 miles, in 8 hours, 10 
minutes using 13 relays of horses. He was ambushed by Indians, shot with flint-head arrows through the 
lower jaw, fracturing it on both sides and knocking out 5 teeth. 

AS nervy and daring as ptjssiblc for 
a man to be, and the most famous 
of the Pony Express riders, except 
Col. W. F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," was 
Robert Haslam, known tliroughout 
the West as "Pony Bob," and yet so- 
called by his intimates. He was the 
hero of many fights with Indians and 
"road agents," and the principal 
actor in such a number of hair-breadth 
escapes and all manner of peril inci- 
dent to the westward trail that they 
alone would make a great volume of 
intense and strenuous adventure. 

In his own modest way Mr. Haslam 
tells here of some of these and others 
are briefly told by persons acquainted 
with the facts as participants in the 
history-making of those times. 

"About eight months after the 
Pony Express was established, the 
Pi-Ute War commenced in Nevada," 
says Mr. Haslam. "Virginia City, 
then the principal point of interest, 
and hourly expecting an attack from 
the hostile Indians, was only in its 
infancy. A stone hotel on C Street 
was in course of construction and had 
reached an elevation of two stories. 
This was hastily transformed into a 
fort for the protection of the women 
and children. From the city the 
signal fires of the Indians could be 
seen on every mountain peak, and all 
available men and horses were pressed 
into service to repel the impending 
assault of the savages. 

"When I reached Reed's Station, 




on the Carson River, I found no 
change of horses, as all those at the 
station had been seized by the whites 
to take part in the approaching 
battle. I fed tlie animal that I rode, 
and started for the next station, 
called Bucklands, afterward known as 
Fort Churchill, fifteen miles farther 
down the river. It was to have been 
the termination of my journey, as I 
had changed my old route to this one, 
in which I had had many narrow es- 
capes, and been twice wounded by 
the Indians. 

"I had already ridden seventy-five 
miles; but, to my great astonish- 
ment, the other rider refused to go on. 
The superintendent, AV. C. Marley, 
was at the station, but all his persua- 
sion could not ]:)revail on the rider, 
Johnson Richardson, to take the 
road. Turning then to me, Marley 

" 'Bob, I will give you $50 if you 
make this ride.' 

"I replied, T will go at once.' 

"Within ten minutes, when I had 
adjusted my Spencer rifle, which was 
a seven-shooter and my Colt's revol- 
ver, wath two cylinders ready for use 
in case of emergency, I started. 
From the station onward it was a 
lonely and dangerous ride of thirty- 
five miles, without a change, to the 
Sink of the Carson. I arrived there 
all right, however, and pushed on to 
Sand Springs, through an alkali 
bottom and sand hills, thirty miles 
farther, without a drop of water all 
along the route. At Sand Springs 
I changed horses and continued on to 
Cold Springs, a distance of thirty- 
seven miles. Another change and a 
ride of thirty more miles brought mc 
to Smiths Creek. Here I was relieved 
by J. G. Kelley. I had ridden 190 
miles, stopping only to eat and change 
' horses." 

This run is on record as the fastest 
of the entire route of 2,000 miles. 

Continuing, Bob says: "After re- 
maining at Smith's Creek about nine 
hours, I started to retrace my journey 
with the return express. When I 
arrived at Cold Springs to my horror 
I found that the station had been 
attacked by Indians, the keeper 
killed, and all the horses taken away. 
I decided in a moment what course 
to pursue — I would go on. I watered 
m\- horse, having ridden him thirty 
miles on time, he was pretty tired, 
and started for Sand Springs, thirty- 
seven miles away. It was growing 
dark, and my road lay through heavy 
sage brush, high enough in some 
places to conceal a horse. I kept a 
bright lookout, and closely watched 
every motion of my poor pony's ears, 
which is a signal for danger in an 
Indian country. I was prepared for 
a fight, but the stillness of the night 
and the howling of the wolves and 
coyotes made cold chills rt:n through 
me at times; but I reached Sand 
Springs in safety and reported what 
had happened. Before leaving, I 
advised the station keeper to come 
with me to the Sink of the Carson, for 
I was sure the Indians would be upon 
him the next day. He took my 
advice, and so probably saved his 
life, for the following morning Smith's 
Creek was attacked. The whites, 
however, were well protected in the 
shelter of a stone house, from which 
they fought the savages for four days. 
At the end of that time they were 
relieved by the appearance of about 
fifty volunteers from Cold Springs. 
These men reported that they had 
buried John Williams, the brave 
keeper of that station, but not before 
he had been nearly devoured by the 

"When I arrived at the Sink of the 



Carson, I found the station men 
badly frightened, for tliev liad seen 
some fifty warriors decked out in 
their war-paint and reconnoitering. 
There were fifteen wliite men here, 
well armed and ready for a figlit. 
The station was built of adobe, and 
was large enough for the men and ten 
or fifteen horses, with a fine spring of 
water witliin a few feet of it. I 
rested here an hour, and after dark 
started for Buckland's, where I 
arrived witliout a mishap and only 
three and a half liours behind sclicdulc 

4 19 **^y 



^^^^^^^^^^^ '"^^^^^^^^^^^^^V 

Kit Carson 

Famous scout who guided Fremont's 
Exploring Expedition 

time. I found Mr. Marley at Buck- 
land's, and when I related to him the 
story of the Cold Springs tragedy and 
my success, he raised his previous 
offer of $50 for my ride to $100. I 
was rather tired, but the excitement 
of the trip had braced me up to with- 
stand the fatigue of the journey. 
After a rest of one and a half hours, 
I proceeded over my own route from 
Bucklands to Fridays Station, cross- 
ing the Sierra Nevada. I had trav- 
eled 380 miles within a few hours of 

schedule time, and was surrounded by 
])erils on every hand." 

After the Pony Express was dis- 
continued, Pony Bob was employed 
by Wells, Fargo & Company as an 
express rider in the prosecution of 
their transportation business. His 
route was between Virginia City, 
Nevada, and Friday Station and 
return, about one hundred miles, 
every twenty -four hours; schedule 
time, ten hours. This engagement 
continued for more than a year; 
but as the Pacific Railway gradually 
extended its line and operations, the 
Pony Express business as gradually 
diminished. Finally, the track was 
completed to Reno, Nevada, twenty- 
three miles from Virginia City, and 
over this route Pony Bob rode for 
more than six months, making the 
run every day, with fifteen horses, 
inside of one hour. When the tele- 
grapli line was completed, the Pony 
Express over this route was with- 
drawn, and Pony Bob was sent to 
Idaho, to ride the company's express 
route of 100 miles, with one horse, 
from Queen's River to the Owyhee 
River. He was at the former station 
wlien Major McDermott was killed 
at the breaking out of the Modoc 

On one of his rides he passed the 
remains of ninety Chinamen who had 
been killed by the Indians, only one 
escaping to tell, the tale. Their 
bodies lay bleaching in the sun for a 
distance of more than ten miles from 
the mouth of Ives Canon to Crooked 
Creek. This was Pony Bob's last 
experience as Pony Express rider. 
His successor, Sye Macaulas, was 
killed by the Indians on his first trip. 

Bob bought a Flathead Indian pony 
at Boise, Idaho, and rode to Salt Lake 
City, 400 miles away. Joshua Hosmer, 
his brother-in-law, was United States / 

Pony Bob as he is to-day 



marshal for Utali, and Ilaslam was 
appointed deputy marshal, but that 
business not being to his liking, he 
became again an i'm])loye of the 
Wells-Fargo Company, as first mes- 
senger from Salt Lake City to Denver, 
720 miles by stage, and tilled that 
position for several years. 

At this writing, the autumn of 
1907, Mr. Haslam, who is still called 
"Pony Bob" by his intimates, is a 
hale, happy, and prosperous citizen 
of Chicago, attending industriously 
everv dav to his business, which is 

associated with the management of 
the vast Congress Hotel organization 
that includes the Auditorium Hotel 
and its magnificent annexes. 

To see Mr. Haslam as he is in the 
conventional garb and quiet calling 
that are now of his life, one would find 
a test of credulity when informed that 
the bland, mild mannered, and affable 
gentleman indicated had ever experi- 
enced the dangers, privations, and 
hazardous adventures that have 
marked the career of "Pony Bob" in 
blazing the western way. 



ON "Cody Day" at the Trans- 
Mississippi Exposition in Omaha, 
in tlie summer of 1898, this writer had 
the good fortune to be among the 
guests at a banquet given by dis- 
tinguished citizens to Col. W. F. Cody, 
famed throughout the world as "Buf- 
falo Bill." On this occasion Col. 
Alexander Majors, frequently men- 
tioned in these chronicles, told in a 
speech at the table of how Will Cody, 
a fatherless western lad, whose sire 
had been slain by Indians, came to 
him for employment, and how he had 
engaged the boy to ride as a messen- 
ger between the freight trains of great 
wagons that the firm of Russell, 
Majors and Waddell were at that 
time sending to and fro in long cara- 
vans across the western plains. 

Col. Majors spoke in high laudation 
and deep affection of Cody, both as 
man and boy, and told much con- 
cerning this famous plainsman's 
career as messenger, Pony Express 
rider, guide, hunter, and Indian 
fighter. Among other things he told 
of how Will Cody, when he received 
his first month's pay, which was a 
considerable sum for a boy in his 
"teens" to earn, took the coin to his 
mother, and in his exhilaration spread 
it out over the table and said : 
"Ain't it splendid, mother, that I can 
get all this money for you and my 

Some one in the party exclaimed, 
much to the amusement of the ban- 
queters: "Yes, and he has been 
spreading it ever since." 

Col. Majors dwelt with the elo- 
quence of truth, high character, 

earnestness, and affection upon the 
faithfulness and intrepidity of Cody, 
and mentioned that part of the line 
over which Cody rode in the express 
service as being particularly hazard- 
ous. This route lay between Red 
Buttes and Three Crossings, so called 
because the trail ran through a cafion 
where the Sweetwater reached from 
wall to wall, and had to be crossed 
three times in a short distance. It 
was a most dangerous, long, and 
lonely trail, including the perilous 
crossing of the North Platte River, 
which at that place was half a mile 
wide, and, though generally shallow, 
in some places reached a depth of 
twelve feet, a stream often much 
swollen and very turbulent. An 
average of fifteen miles an hour had 
to be made, including change of 
horses, detours for safety, and time 
for meals. 

He passed through many a gauntlet 
of death in his flight from station to 
station, bearing express matter that 
was of the greatest value. 

Colonel Cody, in telling the story 
of his own experiences with the Pony 
Express, says: 

"The enterprise was just being 
started. The line was stocked with 
horses and put into good running 
order. At Julcsburg I met Mr. 
George Chrisman, the leading wagon- 
master of Russell, Majors and Wad- 
dell, who had always been a good 
friend to me. He had bought out 
'Old Jules,' and was then the owner 
of Julesburg Ranch, and the agent of 
the Pony Express line. He hired me 
at once as a Pony Express rider, but 




as I was so young he thought I was 
not able to stand the fierce riding 
which was required of the messengers. 
He knew, however, that I had been 
raised in the saddle, that I felt more 
at home there than in any other 
place, and as he saw that I was con- 
fident that I could stand the racket, 
and could ride as far and endure it as 
well as some of the old riders, he gave 
me a short route of forty-five miles, 
with the stations fifteen miles apart, 
and three changes of horses. I was 
fortunate in getting well-broken ani- 
mals, and being so light I easily made 
my forty-five miles on my first trip 
out, and ever afterward. 

"As the warm days of summer 
approached, I longed for the cool air 
of the mountains; and to the moun- 
tains I determined to go. When I 
returned to Leavenworth I met my 
old wagon-master and friend, Lewis 
Simpson, who was fitting out a train 
at Atchison and loading it with sup- 
plies for the Overland Stage Company, 
of which Mr. Russell, my old em- 
ployer, was one of the proprietors. 
Simpson was going with this train to 
Fort Laramie and points farther west. 

" 'Come along with me, Billy,' said 
he. 'I'll give you a good lay-out. I 
want you with me.' 

" 'I don't know that I would like to 
go as far west as that again,' I replied. 
'But I do want to ride the Pony 
Express once more; there's some life 
in that.' 

" 'Yes, that's so; but it will soon 
shake the life out of you,' said he. 
'However, if that's what you've got 
5^our mind set on, you had better come 
to Atchison with me and see Mr. 
Russell, who, I'm pretty certain, will 
give you a situation.' 

"I met Mr. Russell there and asked 
him for employment as a Pony Ex- 
press rider; he gave me a letter to 

Mr. Slade, who was then the stage- 
agent for the division extending from 
Julesburg to Rocky Ridge. Slade 
had his headquarters at Horseshoe 
Station, thirty-six miles west of Fort 
Laramie, and I made the trip thither 
in company with Simpson and his train. 

"Almost the first person I saw 
after dismounting from my horse was 
Slade. I walked up to him and 
presented Mr. Russell's letter, which 
he hastily opened and read. With a 
sweeping glance of his eye he took 
my measure from head to foot, and 
then said : 

'My boy, you are too young for a 
Pony Express rider. It takes men 
for that business.' 

" 'I rode two months last year 
on Bill Trotter's division, sir, and 
filled the bill then; and I think I am 
better able to ride now,' said I. 

" 'What! Are you tlie boy that 
was riding there, and was called the 
youngest rider on the road?' 

" 'I am the same boy,' I replied, 

Sitting Bull and Col. Cody 



confident that everything was now 
all right for me. 

'"I have heard of you before. You 
are a year or so older now, and 1 
think you can stand it. I'll give you 
a trial, anyhow, and if you weaken 
you can come back to Horseshoe Sta- 
tion and tend stock. 

"Thus ended our interview. The 
next day he assigned me to duty on 
the road from Red Buttes on the 
North Platte to the Three Crossings 
of the Sweetwater — a distance of 
seventy-six miles — and I began rid- 
ing at once. It was a long piece of 
road, but I was equal to the under- 
taking, and soon afterward had an 
opportunity to exhibit my power of 
endurance as a Pony Express rider. 

"For some time matters progressed 
verv smoothly, though I had no idea 
that things would always continue so. 
I was well aware that the portion of 
the trail to which I had been assigned 
■was not only the most desolate and 
lonely, but it was more eagerly 
watched by the savages than else- 
where on the long route. 

"Slade, the boss, whenever I ar- 
rived safely at the station, and before 
I started out again, was always very 
earnest in his suggestions to look out 
for my scalp. 

" 'You know, Billy,' he would say, 
'I am satisfied yours will not always 
be the peaceful route it has been with 
you so far. Every time you come in 
I expect to hear that you have met 
with some startling adventure that 
does not always fall to the average 
express rider.' 

"I replied that I was always 
cautious, made detours whenever I 
noticed anything suspicious. 'You 
bet I look out for number one.' The 
change soon came. 

"One day, when I galloped into 
Three Crossings, my home station, I 

John' Nelson 
Typical Frontiersman 

found that the rider who was expected 
to take the trip out on my arrival, 
had go.tten into a drunken row the 
night before and had been killed. 
This left that division without a 
rider. As it was very difficult to 
engage men for the service in that 
uninhabited region, the superinten- 
dent requested me to make the trip 
until another rider could be secured. 
The distance to the next station. 
Rocky Ridge, was eighty-five miles 
and through a very bad and danger- 
ous country, but the emergency was 
great and I concluded to try it. I, 
therefore started promptly from 
Three Crossings without more than a 
moment's rest: I pushed on with 
the usual rapidity, entering every 
relay station on time, and accom- 
plished the round trip of 322 miles 
back to Red Buttes without a single 
mishaj) and on time. This stands on 
the records as being the longest 
Pony Express journey ever made. 
"A week after making this trip, and 



wliile passing over the route again, 1 Sweetwater. Between Split Rock 
was jumped on by a band of Sioux and Three Crossings they robbed a 

Indians who dashed out fn^m a sand 
ravine nine miles west of Horse 
Creek. They were armed with pis- 
tols, and gave me a close call witli 
several Imllets, but it fortunately 
happened that I was mounted on 

stage, killed the driver and two pas- 
sengers, and badly wounded Lieuten- 
ant Flowers, the assistant division 
agent. The red-skinned thieves also 
drove off the stock from the different 
stations, and were continually lying 

the fleetest horse belonging to the in wait for the passing stages and 

express company and one that was Pony Express riders, so that we had 

possessed of remarkable endurance, to take many desperate chances in 

Being cut oflF from retreat back to running the gauntlet. 

Horseshoe, I j)ut spurs to my horse, "The Indians had now become so 

and lying flat on his back, kept bad and had stolen so much stock 

straight for Sweetwater, the next that it was decided to stop the Pony 

station, which _^^^ Express for 

them, and ~~ were thus all 

r. 1 -ii- Gen. George Crook i • :ji„ 

after killmg lying idle, a 

the stock tender had driven off all the party was organized to go out and 

horses, so that I was unable to get a 
remount. I, therefore, continued on 
to Ploutz' Station, twelve miles far- 

search for stolen stock. This party 
was composed of stage drivers, ex- 
press riders, stock tenders, and ranch- 

ther, thus making twenty-four miles men — forty of them altogether — and 
straight run with one horse. I told they were well armed and well 
the people at Ploutz what had hap- mounted. They were mostly men 
pened at Sweetwater Bridge, and who had undergone all kinds of hard- 
went on and finished the trip without ships and braved every danger, and 
any further adventure. they were ready and anxious to 
"About the middle of September, 'tackle' any number of Indians. Wild 
the Indians became very troublesome Bill, who had been driving stage on 
on the line of the stage road along the the road and had recently come down 



Maj. Gen. Eugexe A. Carr 
Wounded in 1834 with Indian Arrow 

to our division, was elected captain of 
the company. It was supposed that 
the stolen stock had been taken to the 
head of the Powder River and vicin- 
ity, and the party, of which I was a 
member, started out for that section 
in high hopes of success. 

"Twenty miles out from Sweet- 
water Bridge, at the head of Horse 
Creek, we found an Indian trail 
running north toward Powder River, 
and we could see by the tracks that 
most of the horses had been recently 
shod and were undoubtedly our 
stolen stage stock. Pushing rapidly 
forward, we followed this trail to 
Powder River; thence down this 
stream to within about forty miles of 
the spot where old Fort Reno now 
stands. Here the trail took a more 
westerly course along the foot of the 
mountains, leading eventually to 
Crazy Woman's Fork — a tributary of 
Powder River. At this point we 
discovered that the party whom we 

were trailing had been joined by 
another band of Indians, and judging 
from the fresh appearance of the trail, 
the united body could not have left 
this spot more than twenty-four 
hours before. 

"Being aware that we were now in 
the heart of the hostile country and 
might at any moment find more 
Indians than we had lost, we ad- 
vanced with more caution than usual 
and kept a sharp lookout. As we 
were approaching Clear Creek, an- 
other tributary of Powder River, we 
discovered Indians on the opposite 
side of the creek, some three miles 
distant; at least we saw horses graz- 
ing, which was a sure sign that there 
were Indians there. 

"The Indians, thinking themselves 
in comparative safety, never before 
having been followed so far into their 
own country by white men, had neg- 
lected to put out any scouts. They 
had no idea that there were any 
white men in that part of the country. 
We got the lay of their camp, and 

Gen. X. A. .M. Dudley 
Noted Indian-tighter 



then held a council to consider and 
mature a plan for capturing it. We 
knew full well that the Indians would 
outnumber us at least three to one, 
and perhaps more. U])on the advice 
and suggestion of Wild Bill, it was 
finally decided that we should wait 
until it was nearly dark, and then 
after creeping as close to them as 
possible, make a dash througli their 
camp, open a general fire on them, 
and then stampede the horses. 

"This plan, at the proper time, was 
very successfully executed. The dash 
upon the enemy was a complete sur- 
prise to them. They were so over- 
come with astonishment that they 
did not know what to make of it. 
We could not have astounded them 
any more had we dropped down into 
their camp from the clouds. They 
did not recover from the surprise of 
this sudden charge until after we had 
ridden pell-mell through their camp 
and got away with our own horses as 
well as theirs. We at once circled the 
horses around toward the south, and 


bn UNO Bull 
Chief of Dakota Sioux-Uncapapas 

Chief of Ogallala Sioux 

after getting them on the south side 
of Clear Creek, some twenty of our 
men, just as the dafkness was coming 
on, rode back and gave the Indians a 
few parting shots. We then took up 
our line of march for Sweetwater 
Bridge, where we arrived four days 
afterward with all our own horses and 
about one hundred captured Indian 

"The expedition had proved a grand 
success, and the event was celebrated 
in the usual manner — by a grand 
spree. The only store at Sweetwater 
Bridge did a rushing business for 
several days. The returned stock 
hunters drank and gambled and 
fought. The Indian ponies, which 
had been distributed among the 
captors, passed from hand to hand at 
almost every deal of cards. There 
seemed to be no limit to the rioting 
and carousing; revelry reigned su- 
preme. On the third day of the orgy, 
Slade, who had heard the news, came 
up to the bridge and took a hand in 



the 'fun,' as it was called. To add 
some variation and excitement to the 
occasion, Slade got into a quarrel 
with a stage driver and shot him, 
killing him almost instantly. 

"The boys became so elated as well 
as 'elevated' over their success against 
the Indians, that most of them were 
in favor of going back and cleaning 
out the whole Indian race. One old 
driver especially, Dan Smitli, was 
eager to open a war on all the hostile 
nations, and had the drinking been 
continued another week he certainly 
would have undertaken the job, single 
handed and alone. The spree' finall}' 
came to an end; the men sobered 
down and abandoned the idea of 
again invading the hostile country. 
The recovered horses were replaced on 
the road, and the stages and Pony 
Express again began running on time. 

"Slade, having taken a great fancy 
to me, said, 'Billy, I want you to come 
down to my headquarters, and I'll 
make you a sort of supernumerary 
rider, and send you out only when it 
is necessary.' 

"I accepted the offer and went 
with him down to Horseshoe, where 
I had a comparatively easy time of it. 
I had always been fond of hunting, 
and I now had a good opportunity to 
gratify my ambition in that direction, 
as I had plenty of spare time on my 
hands. In this connection I will 
relate one of my bear hunting adven- 
tures. One day, when I had nothing 
else to do, I saddled up an extra Pony 
Express horse, struck out for the 
foot-hills of Laramie Peak for a bear 
hunt. Riding carelessly along, and 
breathing the cool and bracing moun- 
tain air which came down from the 
slopes, I felt as only a man can feel 
who is roaming over the prairies of 
the far West, well armed and mounted 
on a fleet and gallant steed. The 

perfect freedom which he enjoys is in 
itself a refreshing stimulant to the 
mind as well as the body. Such 
indeed were my feelings on this beau- 
tiful day as I rode up the valley of 
the Horseshoe. Occasionally I scared 
up a flock of sage hens or a jack 
rabbit. Antelopes and deer were 
almost always in sight in any direc- 
tion, but, as they were not the kind 
of game I was after on that day, I 
passed them by and kept on toward 
the mountains. The farther I rode 
the rougher and wilder became the 
country, and I knew that I was 
approaching the haunts of the bear. 
I did not discover any, however, 
although I saw plenty of tracks in the 

"About two o'clock in the after- 
noon, my horse having become tired, 
and myself being rather weary, I shot 
a sage hen, and, dismounting, I unsad- 
dled my horse and tied him to a small 
tree, where he could easily feed on the 
mountain grass. I then built a little 
fire, and broiling the chicken and 
seasoning it, with salt and pepper 
which I had obtained from my saddle- 
bags, I soon sat down to a 'genuine 
square meal,' which I greatly relished. 

"After resting for a couple of hours, 
I remounted and resumed my upward 
trip to the mountain, having made up 
my mind to camp out that night 
rather than go back without a bear, 
which my friends knew I had gone 
out for. As the days were growing 
short, night soon came on, and I 
looked around for a suitable camping 
place. While thus engaged, I scared 
up a flock of sage hens, two of which I 
shot, intending to have one for supper 
and the other for breakfast. 

"B}' this time it was becoming 
quite dark, and I rode, down to one of 
the little mountain streams, where I 
found an open place in the timber 



suitable for a camp. I dismouiitt'd, 
and after unsaddling my horse and 
hitching him to a tree, I prepared to 
start a fire. Just then I was startled 
by hearing a liorse whinnying farther 
up the stream. It was quite a sur- 
prise to me, and I immediately ran to 
my animal to keep him from answer- 
ing as horses usually do in such cases. 
I thought that the strange horse 
might belong to some roaming band 
of Indians, as I knew of no white men 
being in that portion of the country 
at that time. I was certain that the 
owner of the strange horse could not 
be far distant, and I was very anxious 
to find out who my neighbor was, 
before letting him know that I was 
in his vicinity. I, therefore, resad- 
dled my horse, and leaving him tied 
so that I could easily reach him, I 
took my gun and started out on a 
scouting expedition up the stream. 
I had gone about four hundred yards 
when, in a bend of the stream, I dis- 
covered ten or fifteen horses grazing. 
On the opposite side of the creek a 
light w-as shining high up the moun- 
tain bank. Approaching the mys- 
terious spot as cautiously as possible, 
and when within a few yards of the 
light, which I discovered came from 
a dugout in the mountain side, I 
heard voices, and soon I was able to 
distinguish the words, as they proved 
to be in my own language. Then I 
knew that the occupants of the dug- 
out were white men. Thinking that 
they might be a party of trappers, I 
boldly walked up to the door and 
knocked for admission. The voices 
instantly ceased, and for a moment 
a deathlike silence reigned inside. 
Then there seemed to follow a kind of 
hurried whispering — a sort of con- 
sultation — and then some one called 

" 'Who's there?' 

" 'A friend and a white man,' I 

"The door opened, and a big ugly- 
looking fellow stepped forth and said: 

" 'Come in.' 

"I accepted the invitation with 
some degree of fear and hesitation, 
which I endeavored to conceal, as I 
thought it was too late to back out, 
and that it would never do to weaken 
at that point, whether they were 
friends or foes. Upon entering the 
dugout my eyes fell upon eight as 
rough and villianous looking men as I 
ever saw in my life. Two of them I 
instantly recognized as teamsters who 
had been driving in Lew Simpson's 
train, a few months before, and had 
been discharged. 

"They were charged with the mur- 
dering and robbing of a ranchman; 
and, having stolen his horses, it was 
supposed that they had left the coun- 

Newspaper cut n ■ Express 

Rider published in 1 860 

try. I gave them no signs of recog- 
nition, however, deeming it advisable 
to let them remain in ignorance as to 
who I was. It was a hard crowd, and 
I concluded the sooner I could get 
away from them the better it would 
be for me. I felt confident that they 
were a band of horse thieves. 

" 'Where are you going, young 
man, and who's with vou?' asked one 
of the men, who appeared to be the 
leader of the gang. 



" 'I am entirely alone. I left 
Horseshoe Station this morning for 
a bear hunt, and not finding any 
bears I had determined to camp out 
for the niglit and wait till morning,' 
said I; 'and just as I was going into 
camp a few hundred yards down the 
creek, I heard- one of your liorses 
whinnying, and then I came to your 

"I thus was explicit in my state- 
ment, in order, if possible, to satisfy 
the cut-throats that I was not spying 
upon them, but that my intrusion was 
entirely accidental. 

" 'Where's your horse?' demanded 
the boss thief. 

" 'I left him down at the creek,' I 

"They proposed going after the 
horse, but I thought that would never 
do, as it would leave me without any 
means of escape, and I accordingly 
iaid, in hopes to throw them off the 
track, 'Captain, I'll leave my gun 
here and go down and get my horse, 
and come back and stay all night.' 

"I said this in as cheerful and as 
careless a manner as possible, so as 
not to arouse their suspicions in any 
way or lead them to think that I was 
aware of their true character.- I 
hated to part with my gun but my 
suggestion of leaving it was a part of 
the plan of escape which I had 
arranged. If they have the gun, 
thought I, they will surely believe 
that I intend to come back. But 
this little game did not work at all, 
as one of the desperadoes spoke up 
and said: 

" 'Jim and I will go down with you 
after your horse, and you can leave 
your gun here all the same, as you'll 
not need it.' 

" 'All right,' I replied, for I could 
certainly have done nothing else. 
It became evident to me that it would 

be better to trust myself with two 
men than with the whole party. It 
was apparent from this time on I 
would have to be on the alert for some 
good opportunity to give them the 

" 'Come along,' said one of them, 
and together we went down the 
creek, and soon came to the spot 
where my horse was tied. One of 
the men unhitched the animal, and 
said, 'I'll lead the horse.' 

"'Very well,' said I; 'I've got a 
couple of sage hens here. Lead on.' 

"I picked up the sage hens which I 
had killed a few hours before, and 
followed the man who was leading 
the horse, while his companion 
brought up the rear. The nearer we 
approached the dugout, the more I 
dreaded the idea of going back among 
the villainous cut-throats. My first 
plan of escape having failed, I now 
determined upon another. I had 
both of my revolvers with me, the 
thieves not having thought it neces- 
sary to search me. It was now quite 
dark, and I purposely dropped one 
of the sage hens, and asked the man 
behind me to pick it up. While he 
was hunting for it on the ground, I 
quickly pulled out one of my Colt's 
revolvers and struck him a tremen- 
dous blow on the back of the head, 
knocking him senseless to the ground. 
I then instantlv wheeled around and 
saw that the man ahead, who was 
only a few feet distant, had heard the 
blow and had turned to see what was 
the matter, his hand upon his revol- 
ver We faced each other at about 
the same instant, but before he could 
fire, as he tried to do, I shot him dead 
in his tracks. Then jumping on my 
horse, I rode down the creek as fast 
as possible, through the darkness and 
over the rough ground and rocks. 

"The other outlaws in the dugout, 



lia\'ing licard the shot wiiich I hatl 
fired, knew there was trouble, and 
they all came rushing down the creek. 
I suppose by the time they reached 
the man whom I had knocked down, 
that he had recovered and hurriedly 
told them of what had happened. 
Tliey did not stay with the man whom 
I had shot, but came on in hot pur- 
suit of me. They were not mounted, 
and were making better time down the 
rough mountain than I was on horse- 
back. From time to time I heard 
them gradually gaining on me. 

"At last they came so near that I 
saw that I must abandon my horse. 
So I jumped to the ground, and gave 
him a hard slap with the butt of one 
of my revolvers, which started him 
on down the valley, while I scrambled 
up the mountain side. I liad not 
ascended more than forty feet when I 
heard my pursuuers coming closer 
and closer; I quickly hid behind a 
large pine tree, and in a few moments 
they all rushed by me, being led on by 
the rattling footsteps of my horse, 
which they heard ahead of them. 
Soon they began firing in the direc- 
tion of the horse, as they no doubt 
supposed I was still seated on his back. 
As soon as they had passed me I 
climbed further up the steep moun- 
tain, and knowing that I had given 
them the slip, and feeling certain I 
could keep out of their way, I at once 
struck out for Horseshoe Station, 
which was twenty -five miles dis- 
tant. I had very hard traveling 
at first, but upon reaching lower 
and better ground I made good 
headway, walking all night and get- 
ting into the station just before day- 
light — footsore, weary, and generally 
played out. 

"I immediately waked up the men 
of the station and told them of my 
adventure. Slade himself happened 

to be there, and he at once organized 
a party to go out in pursuit of the 
horse thieves. Shortly after day- 
light twenty well armed stage drivers, 
stock tenders, and ranchmen were 
galloping in the direction of the dug- 
out. Of course I went along with the 
part3% notwithstanding that I was 
very tired and had had hardly time 
for any rest at all. We had a brisk 
ride, and arrived in the immediate 
vicinity of the thieves' rendezvous 
at about ten o'clock in the morning. 
We approached the dugout cautiously, 
but upon getting in close proximity 
to it we could discover no horses in 
sight. We could see the door of the 
dugout standing wide open, and we 
marched up to the place. No one 
was inside, and the general appear- 
ance of everything indicated that the 
place had been deserted — that the 
birds had flown. Such, indeed, 
proved to be the case. 

"We found a new-made grave, 
where they had evidently buried the 
man whom I had shot. We made a 
thorough search of the whole vicinity, 
and finally found their trail going 
southeast in the direction of Denver. 
As it would have been useless to 
follow them, we rode back to the sta- 
tion, and thus ended my eventful 
bear-hunt. We had no trouble for 
some time after that." 

A friend, who was once a station 
agent, tells two more adventures of 
Cody's: "It had become known in 
some mysterious manner, past finding 
out, that there was to be a large sum 
of money sent through by Pony Ex- 
press, and that was what the road 
agents were after. 

"After killing the other rider, and 
failing to get the treasure, Cody very 
naturally thought that they would 
make another effort to secure it; so 
when he reached the next relay sta- 



tion, he walked about a while longer 
than was his wont. 

"This was to perfect a little plan he 
had decided upon, which was to take 
a second pair of saddle pouches and 
put something in them and leave them 
in sight, while those that held the 
valuable express packages he folded 
up in his saddle blanket in suclVa way 
that they could not be seen uMess a 
search was made for them. .The 
truth was Cody knew that he carried 
the valuable package, and it was his 
duty to protect it with his life. 

"So with the clever scheme to out- 
wit the road agents, if held up, he 
started once more upon his flying trip. 
He carried his revolver ready for 
instant use and flew along the trail 
with every nerve strung to meet any 
danger which might confront him. 
He had an idea where he would be 
halted, if halted at all, and it was a 
lonesome spot in a valley, the very 
place for a deed of crime. 

"As he drew near the spot he was on 
the alert, and yet when two men 
suddenly stepped out from among the 
shrubs and confronted him, it gave 
him a start in spite of his nerve. 
They had him covered with rifles and 
brought him to a halt with the words : 
'Hold! Hands up, Pony Express 
Bill, for we knew yer, my boy, and 
what yer carried.' 

" 'I carry the express; and it's 
hanging for you two if you interfere 
with me,' was the plucky response. 

" 'Ah, we don't want you, Billy, 
unless you force us to call in your 
checks; but it's what you carry we 

" 'It won't do you any good to get 
the pouch, for there isn't anything 
valuable in it,' 

" 'We are to be the judges of that, 
so throw us the valuable or catch a 
bullet. Which shall it be, Billy?' 

"The two men stood directly in 
front of the pony rider, each one cov- 
ering him with a rifle, and to resist 
was certain death. So Cody began 
to unfasten his pouches slowly, while 
he said, 'Mark my words, men, you'll 
hang for this.' 

'We'll take chances on that. 

"The pouches being unfastened 
now, Cody raised them with one hand, 
while he said in an angry tone, 'If 
you will have them, take them.' 
With this he hurled the pouches at 
the head of one of them, who quickly 
dodged and turned to pick them up, 
just as Cody fired upon the other with 
his revolver in his left hand. 

"The bullet shattered the man's 
arm, while, driving the spurs into the 
flanks of his mare, Cody rode directly 
over the man who was stooping to 
pick up the pouches, his back turned 
to the pony rider. 

"The horse struck him a hard blow 
that knocked him down, while he 
half fell on top of him, but was 
recovered by a touch of the spurs and 
bounded on, while the daring pony 
rider gave a wild triumphant yell as 
he sped on like the wind. 

"The fallen man, though hurt 
scrambled to his feet as soon as he 
could, picked up his rifle, and fired 
after the retreating youth, but with- 
out effect, and young Cody rode on, 
arriving at the station on time, and 
reported what had happened. 

"He had, however, no time to rest, 
for he was compelled to start back 
with his express pouches. He thus 
made the remarkable ride of 324 
miles without sleep, and stopping only 
to eat his meals, and resting then but 
a few moments. For saving the 
express pouches he was highly com- 
plimented by all, and years afterward 
he had the satisfaction of seeing his 



prophecy regarding tin- two road 
agents verified, for they were both 
captured and hanged by vigilantes 
for their many erimes." 

" 'There's Injun signs about, so 
keep your eyes open.' So said the 
station boss of the Pony Express, 
addressing young Cody, wlio had 
dashed uj) to the cabin, his horse 
panting Hke a hound, and the rider 
readv for tlie 15-mile flight to the 
next relay. 'I'll be on the watch, 
boss, vou bet,' said the pony rider, 
and with a yell to his fresh pony he 
was off like an arrow from a bow. 

"Down the trail ran the fleet pony 
like the wind, leaving the station 
quicklv out of sight, and dashing at 
once into the solitude and dangers of 
the vast wilderness. Mountains were 
upon either side, towering cliffs here 
and there overhung the trail, and the 
wind sighed through the forest of 
pines like the mourning of departed 
spirits. Gazing ahead, the piercing 
eves of the young rider saw every 
tree, bush, and rock, for he knew but 
too well that a deadly foe, lurking 
in ambush, might send an arrow or a 
bullet to his heart at any moment. 
Gradually far down the valley, his 
quick glance fell upon a dark object 
above the bowlder directly in his 

"He saw the object move and dis- 
appear from sight down behind the 
rock. Without appearing to notice 
it, or checking his speed in the slight- 
est, he held steadily upon his way. 
But he took in the situation at a 
glance, and saw that on one side was 
a fringe of heavy timber, upon 'the 
other a precipice, at the base of which 
were massi\ e rocks. 

" 'There is an Indian behind that 
rock, for I saw his head,' muttered 
the young rider, as his horse flew on. 
Did he intend to take his chances and 

dash along the trail directly by his 
ambushed foe? ll would seem so, 
for lie still stuck to the trail. 

'A moment more and he would be 
within range of a bullet, when sud- 
denly dashing his spurs into the 
pony's side, Billy Cody wheeled to the 
right, and in an oblicjue course 
headed for the cliff". This proved to 
the foe in ambush that he was sus- 
pected, if not known, and at once 
there came the crack of a rifle, the 
puff of smoke rising above the rock 
where he was concealed. At the 
same moment a yell went up from a 
score of throats, and out of the tim- 
ber on the other side of the valley 
darted a number of Indians, and 
these rode to head off the rider. 

"Did he turn back and seek safety 
in a retreat to the station? No! he 
was made of sterner stuff and would 
run the gauntlet. 

"Out from behind the bowlder, 
where they had been lying in ambush, 
sprang two braves in all the glory of 
their war paint. Their horses were 
in the timber with their comrades, 
and, having failed to get a close shot 
at the pony rider, they sought to 
bring him down at long range with 
their rifles. The bullets pattered 
under the hoofs of the flying pony, but 
he was unhurt, and his rider pressed 
him to his full speed. 

"With set teeth, flashing eyes, and 
determined to do or die. Will Cody 
rode on in the race for life, the Indians 
on foot running swiftly toward him, 
and the mounted braves sweeping 
down the valley at full speed. 

"The shots of the dismounted 
Indians failing to bring down the 
flying pony or their human game, the 
mounted redskins saw that their only 
chance was to overtake their prey by 
their speed. One of the number, 
whose war bonnet showed that he was 



Brig. Gex. Jack JIaves 

a chief, rode a horse that was mucli 
faster than the others, and he drew 
quickly ahead. Below, the valley 
narrowed to a pass not a hundred 
yards in width, and if the pony rider 
could get to this wall ahead of his 
pursuers, he would be able to hold his 
own along the trail in the lo-mile run 
to the next relay station. 

"But, though he saw that there 
was no more to fear from the two dis- 
mounted redskins, and that he would 
come out well in advance of the band 
on horseback, there was one who was 
most dangerous. That one was the 
chief, whose fleet horse was bringing 
him on at a terrible pace, and threat- 
ening to reach there at the same time 
with the pony rider. 

"Nearer and nearer the two drew 
toward the path, the horse of Cody 
slightly ahead, and the young rider 
knew that a death struggle was at 
hand. He did not check his horse, 
but kept his eyes alternately upon the 
pass and the chief. The other Indi- 

ans he did not then take into consid- 
eration. At length that happened 
for which he had been looking. 

"When the chief saw that he would 
come out of the race some thirty 
yards behind his foe, he seized his bow 
and quick as a flash had fitted an 
arrow for its deadly flight. But in 
that instant Cody had also acted, and 
a revolver had sprung from his belt 
and a report followed the touching of 
the trigger. A wild yell burst from. 
the lips of the chief, and he clutched 
madly at the air, reeled, and fell from 
his saddle, rolling over like a ball as 
he struck the ground. 

"The death cry of the chief was 
echoed by the braves coming on down 
the valley, and a shower of arrows was 
sent after the fugitive pony rider. 
An arrow slightly wounded his horse, 
but the others did no damage, and in 
ano'ther second Cody had dashed into 
the pass well ahead of his foes. It 

Short Bull. Kicking Bear, 

War Chief Medicine man 

Ogallala Sioux, leaders of Ghost Dance War 
and Messiah Craze 



was a hot chase from then on until 
the pony rider came within sight of 
the next station, when the Indians 
drew off and Cody dashed in on tinif, 
and in another minute was away on 
his next run." 

On one of Cody's rides lie was 
halted in the canon one day by an 

outlaw named . who said to 


"You are a mighty little feller to be 
takin' such chances as this." 

"I'm as big as any other feller," 
said Cody. 

"How do you make that out?" the 
highwayman asked. 

"Well, you see Colonel Colt has 
done it," the youngster replied, pre- 
senting at the same time a man's size 
revolver of the pattern that was so 
prevalent and useful among the men 
of the frontier. "And I can shoot as 
hard as if I was Gin'ral Jackson," he 

"I spect you kin an' I reckon you 
would," was the laconic response of 
the lone highwayman as with a 
chuckle he turned up a small canon 
toward the north. Cody flew on as 
if he were going for the doctor. The 

man escapeil the law, reformed, and 
became a respectable citizen-farmer 
in Kansas, and in 187 1 told this 
writer, in St. Joseph, Missouri, of the 
incident as here related. 

Therefore his name is omitted. 

Of all the Pony Express riders Cody 
has become the best known. His rank 
as colonel belongs to him by commis- 
sion. Indeed, he has been com- 
missioned as brigadier-general. He 
has also been a justice of the peace in 
Nebraska, and was once a member of 
the Legislature, which entitles him to 
the "Hon." that is sometimes at- 
tached to his name. But he only 
cares to be a colonel on the principle, 
perhaps, of the Kentuckian who, 
being addressed as "General," refused 
the title on the ground that there is no 
rank in Kentucky higher than colonel. 
But of all his titles Cody prefers that 
of "Buffalo Bill," by which he is 
known throughout the world, and 
which he obtained while filling a con- 
tract on the plains in furnishing 
buffalo meat to feed the workmen of 
General Jack Casement and brother, 
contractors in the building of the 
Union Pacific Railroad. 



AMONG the many romantic stories trapper was induced to take charge of 

connected with the Pony Express one of the overland stations on the 

service is the following concerning line of the Pony Express. The old 

old "Whipsaw" and "Little Cayuse." agent began to love the young savage 

""Whipsaw," if he ever had any with an affection that was akin to that 

other name than this rather sudden of a mother; and in turn the Pawnee 

one, never informed his associates baby loved his white father and pre- 

of it, and it was seldom in those days server. As the little fellow grew in 

that any one cared to learn another's stature, he evinced a most intense 

"storv of his life" or what his name hatred for all members of his own 

was "in the States." Hov/ever, dark-skinned race. He never let an 

"Whipsaw" had been for many years opportunity go by when he could do 

a trapper until he became a station them an injury, however slight, 

agent of the Pony Express -on the Of course, at times, many of the 

Platte. so-called friendly Indians would visit 

One day while "Whipsaw" was in the station and beg tobacco from the 

his lonely camp attending to his work old trapper, but on every occasion the 

of packing his pelts, mending his young Pawnee would try to do them 

traps, and the like, a Sioux Indian some injury. Once, when he was 

brought to him a captive Pawnee only four years old, and a party of 

child about two years old. The little friendly Indians as usual had ridden 

savage was stark naked and almost up to the station, the young savage 

frozen. The Sioux, who was vividly quietly crept to where their horses 

marked by a long, repulsive scar were picketed, cut their lariats, and 

across his face, desired to dispose of stampeded all of them. At another 

the child to the trapper, and the time he made an attempt to kill an 

latter, as was every one of that class — Indian who had stopped for a moment 

now vanished forever — full of pity at the station, but he was too little to 

and kind hearted to a fault, did not raise properly the rifle with which he 

hesitate a moment, but traded a knife intended to shoot him. 

for the helpless baby — all the savage As it is the inherent attribute of all 

asked for the little burden of human- savages to be far in advance of the 

itv. whites in the alertness and acuteness 

The old trapper took care of the of two or three of the senses, the baby 

young Pawnee, clothed him in his Pawnee was wonderfully so. He 

^rivigh way, encased the little feet in could hear the footsteps of a bear or 

moccasins, and with a soft doe-skin the scratching of a panther, or even 

jacket the little fellow throve admir- the tramp of a horse's hoof on the 

ably under the gentle care of his soft sod long before the old trapper 

rough nurse. could make out the slightest sound. 

When the young Pawnee had He could always tell when the Pony 

reached the age of four years, the old Express rider was approaching, miles 












Wz3t • ^Si 




Ogallai.a Siorx Chief AMRRirAN Horse 

before lie was in sight, if in the day- 
time, and at night many minutes 
before the old trapper's cars, which 
were very acute also, could distin- 
guish the slightest sound. 

The boy was christened "Little 
Cayuse," because his ears could catch 
the sound of an approaching horse's 
foot long before any one else. 

In the middle of the night, while 
his white father was sound asleep on 
his pallet of robes, the little Pawnee 
would wake him hurriedly, saying 
"Cayuse, cayuse," whenever the Pony 
Express was due. The rider, who 
was to take the place of the one near- 
ing the station, would rise, quickh' 
put the saddle on his broncho, and be 
all ready, when the pony arrived, to 
snatch the saddle bags from liim 
whom he was to relieve, and in an- 
other moment dash down the trail 
mountain ward. 

It was never too cold or too warm 
for the handsome little savage to get 
up on these occasions and give a sort 
of rude welcome to the tired rider. 

who, although nearly worn out by his 
arduou.s duty, would take up the baby 
boy and pet him a moment before 
he threw himself down on his bed of 

The young Pawnee had a very 
strange love for horses, lie would 
always hug the animals as they came 
off their long trip, pat their noses, and 
softly murmur, "Cayuse, cayuse." 
"Cayuse" means horse in some Indian 

The precocious little savage was 
known to every rider on the trail from 
St. Joe to Sacramento. Of course, 
tlie Indians were always on the alert 
to steal the horses that belonged to 
the stations, but where Little Cayuse 
was living they never made a success 
of it, owing to his vigilance. Often 
he saved the animals by giving the 
soundly sleeping men warning of the 
approach of the savages who were 
stealthily creejnng up to stampede 
the animals. 

The boy was better than an electric 
batterv, for he never failed to notify 

Brule Sioux Chief Lon'g Dog 




Gen. Custer 

the men of the approach of anything 
that walked. So famous did he 
become that his wonderful powers 
were at last known at the head- 
quarters of the great company, and 
the president sent Little Cayuse a 
beautiful rifle just fitted to his stature, 
and .before he had reached the age of 
six he killed with it a great gray wolf 
that came prowling around the sta- 
tion one evening. 

One cold night, after 12 o'clock, 
Whipsaw happened to get out of bed, 
and he found the little Pawnee sitting 
upright in bis bed, apparently listen- 
ing intently to some sound which was 
perfectly undistinguishable to other 

The station boss whispered to him, 

"No," replied the little Pawnee, 
but continued looking up into his 
father's face with an unmistakable 
air of seriousness. 

"Better go to sleep," said Whipsaw. 

Little Cayuse only shook his head 
in the negative. The station boss 
then turned to the other men and 
said, "Wake up, all of you, something 
is going wrong." 

"What is the matter?" inquired one 
of the riders as he rose. 

"I don't exactly know," replied the 
boss. "But Cayuse keeps listening 
with them wonderful ears of his, and 
when I told him to go to sleep he only 
shook his head, and that boy never 
makes a mistake." 

A candle was lighted; it was long 
after the express was due from the 

The little Pawnee looked at the 
men and said, "Long time — no cayuse 
— no cayuse." 

They then realized what the Paw- 
nee meant: it was nearly two o'clock-, 
and the rider from the East was more 
than two hours behind time. The 
little Pawnee knew it better than any 
clock could have told him, and both 
of the men sat up uneasy, fidgeting, 
for they felt that something had gone 
wrong, as it was beyond the possi- 

The Ogallala Sioux who killed Gen. Custer 



bility for any riiler, if alive, to be so 
much beliind the schedule time. 
They anxiously waited by the tlim 
light of their candle for the sound 
of horses' feet, but their ears 
were not revvarded by the welcome 

Cayuse, who was still in his bed 
watching the countenances of the 
white men, suddenly sprang from his 
bed, and, creeping cautiously out of 

rifle from its peg over his bed, and, 
walking to the door, peered out into 
the darkness. Then he crept along 
the trail, his ears ever alert. The 
men seized their rifles at the same, 
moment, and followed the little 
savage to guard him from being taken 
Ijy surprise. 

All around the rude cabin which 
constituted the station, the boss had 
taken the precaution, when he first 

Ghost Dancers 

the door, carefully placed his ear to 
the ground, the men meanwhile 
watching him. He then came back 
as cautiously as he had gone out, and 
merely said, "Heap cay uses." 

It was not the sound of the rider's 
horse whom they had so long been 
expecting, but a band of predatory 
Sioux bent on some errand of mis- 
chief; of that they were certain, now 
that the Pawnee had given them the 
warning. [Little Cayuse took his 

took charge, to dig a trench deep 
enough to hide a man, to be used as a 
rifle pit in case the occasion ever 

It was to one of these ditches that 
Little Cayuse betook himself, and. 
the men followed the child's example, 
and took up a position on either side 
of him. Lying there without speak- 
ing a word, even in a whisper, the 
determined men and the brave Little 
Cayuse waited for developments. 


Soon the band of savage horse though there were six to three, for ft 

thieves arrived at a kind of little would hardly do to count the little 

hollow in the trail, about an eighth of Pawnee in as a man. The rider who 

a mile from the door of the station, had been waiting for the arrival of 

They got off their animals and, Indian the other then placed his rifle on the 

fashion, commenced to crawl toward ground, and each taking their revol- 

the corral. vers, two apiece in their hands, ready 

On they came, little expecting that cocked, advanced to the door, 
they had been long since discovered. They knew that the fight would be 
and that preparation was already short and hot, so with the Pawnee 
made for their reception. One of between them they arrived at the 
them came so near the men hidden in entrance. Now, the Sioux evidently 
the pit that the boss declared he heard them, and came rushing out, 
could have touched him with his rifle, but it was too late! The Pony Ex- 
The old trapper was very much dis- press men opened fire, and two of the 
turbed for fear that Little Cayuse savages bit the dust. They returned 
would in his childish indiscretion open the salute, but with such careless aim 
fire before the proper time arrived, that their shots were perfectly harm- 
which would be when the savages less; but as the white men fired again, 
had entered the cabin. The child, two more of the savages fell, and only 
however, was as discreet as his elders, two were left. The rider got a shot 
and although it was his initial fight in the shoulder, but he kept on with 
with the wily nomads of the desert, his revolver despite his pain, while 
he acted as if he had thirty or forty the boss, who had fired all his shots, 
years of experience to back him. was compelled to throw the empty 
The band numbered six, as brave weapon into the persistent savage's 
and determined a set of cut -throats face, while Little Cayuse kept pepper- 
as the great Sioux Nation ever sent ing the other with small shot jErom 
out. The clouds had broken apart a his rifle. 

little, and the defenders of the station Then the Indian at whom the boss 
could count their forms as they had thrown his revolver came at him 
appeared between the diffused light of with his knife, and was getting the 
the horizon and the roof of the cabin, best of it, when Little Cayuse, watch- 
On reaching the door the Indians ing his chance, got up close to the 
stopped a moment, and with their savage who was about to finish his 
customary caution listened for some father, and let drive into the brute's 
sound to apprise them that the in- side a charge of shot that made a hole 
mates were sleeping. Suspecting this as big as a water-bucket, and the red 
to be the case, they pushed the door devil fell without knowing what had 
carefully open and entered the cabin, hit him. 

one after another. Both of the men were weak from 

Now had come the supreme moment loss of blood, and when they had 

which the boss had so patiently hoped recovered a little, not far away in the 

for! Whipsaw rose to his feet, and hollow they found the horses the 

without saying a word to them, his savages had ridden and that of the 

comrades, including Little Cayuse, express rider, all together. About a 

followed him. He intended to charge mile farther down the trail they found 

upon the savages in the cabin, al- the dead body of the rider, shot 



through the head. His pony still 
had on the saddle and the mail 
poiicli, which the Indians had not dis- 
turbed. In the morning the men 
carried the remains of the unfortunate 
rider to the cabin and buried it near 
the station, and it may be truthfully 
said that if it had not been for 
the plucky little Pawnee, there 
would have been no mourners at the 

That afternoon the men dug a 
trench into which they threw the 
dead Indians to get them out of the 
way, but while they were employed 
in the thankless work. Little Cayuse 
was discovered most unmercifully 

kicking and clubbing one of the dead 
warriors; then he took his little rifle 
and cocking it emptied its contents 
into the prostrate body. 

The boss then took the weapon 
away from him, but the boy cried out 
to him, "See! See!" 

Looking down closely into the face 
of the object of the boy's wrath, he 
discovered by that hideous scar the 
fiend who had captured Little Cayuse 
when a mere baby, the scar-faced 
Sioux from whom Whipsaw had 
purchased the boy. (Cy Warman 
vouches for this incident in his 
"Frontier Stories." Copyright by 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898.) 



of blessed memory — had, during 
many years of his life, been engaged in 
constructing telegraph lines through- 
out the United States. He had long 

Edward Creighto>j 

contemplated the construction of such 
a line from the Missouri River to the 
Pacific Coast. In i860, after many con- 
sultations with the Western Union 
Telegraph Company, a preliminary sur- 
vey for the line was agreed upon . Not- 
withstanding that the trip across the 
plains and mountains was a trying 
one at best, beset as it was in dangers 
from attacks by Indians and high- 
waymen, added to the chances of 
storm and flood, Mr. Creighton made 
the journey by Overland stage coach 
in the winter of the year mentioned. 
He halted at Salt Lake City, and 
there enlisted the very valuable 
interest and support of President 

Brigham Young, the great head of 
the Mormon church. 

Desirous of also engaging the asso- 
ciation of the California Telegraph 
Company in the enterprise, Mr. 
Creighton pressed, by saddle and 
horse, from Salt Lake to Sacramento, 
across the alkali desert and the Sierra 
Nevada range, in mid-winter, an 
appalling trip for even a hardy 
plainsman, inured to such joumey- 
ings, which Creighton was not. But 
he had a stout heart and a strong 
intent, added to a vigorous constitu- 
tion, thus he accomplished the trip 
and his mission, and returned to 
Omaha in the spring of 186 1 , prepared 
to proceed with the work of construc- 

The Government granted a subsidy 
of $40,000 per annum which was to go 
to the first company that should 
establish a telegraph line across that 
part of the continent, and this stimu- 
lated a mighty rivalry between the 
Creighton forces and those of the 
California company, the first building 
westwardly and the second east- 
wardly, each endeavoring to reach 
Salt Lake before the other. 

Eleven hundred miles was the dis- 
tance that the Creighton cortipany 
had to build, while the California 
company's line for construction was 
only 450 miles, the obstacles, so far as 
nature was concerned, being about 
equal, mile for mile. The Creighton 
forces reached Salt Lake City with 
the completed line on the 17th of 
October, the California company con- 
necting a week later. A telegram 
from ocean to ocean was sent October 




24th, the line having been completed 
witliin little more than half a year 
from the time that construction began. 

Mr. Creighton's financial interest in 
the line was eventually more than a 
million dollars. His original stock 
was woith Si 00.000 at 18 cents per 
share. This stock was afterward 
increased to $300,000, which rose to 
85 cents per share, and Creighton sold 
an interest for $850,000, retaining 
$200,000 worth of stock. 

Edward Creighton died in 1874, of 
paralysis, but there are many monu- 
ments to his memory not the least of 
which is Creighton College in Omaha, 
and the kindliest remembrance of the 
man by all who were acquainted with 
him in life. 

The telegraph across the continent 
instantly, by the flashing of its first 
message, obviated the necessity for 

the Pony Express; the unique, highly 
romantic, and yet intensely practical 
and distinctly successful enterprise 
became a brilliant tradition. 

Aside from the immediate purpose 
that it served so well, accelerating 
communication between the East and 
West at a particularly critical period, 
it demonstrated the feasibility of 
telegraph and railway lines across the 
continent at the latitude over which 
its course was laid, and was, in 
short, the avant courier of the mighty 
and progress-diffusing Union and 
Central Pacific Railway systems that 
have been, and are, the immeasurable 
agencies for the upbuilding of the vast 
and resourceful empire, the glorious 
West that was the "Great American 

"On what a slender thread oft hang 
the weightiest things." 




Senator Charles Sumxer 

Who changed a city's 

HALL IN 1 86 1 
Turner Hall, in St. Joseph, Missouri, 
was located on Charles Street, be- 
tween Sixth and Seventh streets. 

It was a 2- 
story stone and 
brick structure, 
say 30 X 50 feet, 
shingle roof, ga- 
ble fronting 
north on street, 
flag staff about 
three feet south 
of street line, at 
summit of roof. 
The St. Joseph 
Turn Verein So- 
ciety was composed of "unqualified 
Union men." Their hall was the 
meeting place of men holding like 
views. The United States flag was 
kept flying over said building in 
token of their loyalty to the United 
States Government. 

The City Council of St. Joseph, 
Missouri, early in April, 186 1, passed 
an ordinance prohibiting the hoisting 
of flags, either United States or 
secession. The Turn Verein Society 
paid no attention to said proposition, 
but kept the national flag flying with 
the approval of Union men. 

In i860, the Hannibal & St. Joseph 
Railroad was the only line west of the 
Mississippi River and east of the Sierra 
Nevada range, in all of the then "far 
West," except a short line from St. 
Louis to Jefferson City, the capital of 
Missouri. The western terminus of 
•the Hannibal & St. Joseph road was 

at St. Joseph, on the Missouri River 
and the starting point, for the route 
westward of a transcontinental rail- 
way seemed, naturally, to be from 
St. Joseph, not only because it was- 
the terminus of the only road so far 
west, but for topographical reasons, 
involving grades and other desiderata. 

St. Joseph was at that time easily 
the most important city on the Mis- 
souri River. Kansas City was little 
known other than as "Westport 
Landing," a straggling village under 
the bluffs, most important as the 
steamboat landing for Westport, a 
small town a few miles inland, in 
Missouri, the outfitting depot for much 
overland traffic. Now, however, Kan- 
sas City is, as is well known, a mighty 
metropolis for a vast tributary region. 

Omaha was then little more than a 

Gen. Granville M. Dodge 

Civil Engineer who surveyed the line 

01 the Union Pacific 






Gen'. Nelson A. Miles 

trading-post opposite Council Bluffs, 
Iowa. But there another great city 
has grown. 

The designation of the termini of 
the transcontinental railway was an 
official prerogative of the President 
of the United States, and it is said 
that Hon. Charles Sumner, who was a 
highly influential United States Sen- 
ator, from Massachusetts, ai4d-af*«ifc- 
wt^r^^c-Retary^-crf-State -f n •P<»esi4eTrti 
JLiacQljt-'-s - Ga bin at . was an ardent par- 
tisan of St. Joseph as the starting 
point for the great road which was to 
be opulently subsidized by the Gov- 

After the election cf Mr. Lincoln 
in i860, and his inauguration in 1861, 
as President, which precipitated the 
secession of the southern states, Jeff 
Thompson, a prominent citizen of St. 
Joseph committed an act that, though 
an apparently trifling affair, compara- 
tively, resulted in many wondrous 

Thompson became an intense seces- 
sionist and was afterward an officer 
of high rank in the Confederate army. 

The tradition is that he, with some 

other young men, tore down 
the United States flag from 
the St. Jose])h ])ost office 
and replaced it with the 
flag of the Southern Con- 
fcdeiacy. The story, which 
seems to be of strong found- 
ation in truth and vouched 
for by many persons of the 
time and place, further re- 
lates that Mr. Sumner, 
when informed of the St. 
_ Josej)!! incident, became as 

r strenuously opposed to that 

city, in the premises, as he 
had been in its favor there- 
tofore, and that he had 
much to do with influencing 
Mr. Lincoln to name Omaha 
as the beginning of the "Iron Trail" 

Hon. John L. Bittinger, who was 
lately U. S. Consul General at Mon- 
treal, many years a leading journal- 
ist of St. Joseph, Mo., and now a 
highly esteemed citizen there, was 
post-master at St. Joseph at the 
time of this incident. He appre- 
hended Thompson in the act of 
destroying the flag that he had 
pulled down and recovered the 
fragments at the muzzle of Bit- 
tinger's revolver. 

Major Bittinger was one of the first 
three postoffice appointees of Presi- 
dent Lincoln's administration that 
began March 4, 1861. This writer 
conversed with Major Bittinger on 
the subject of the flag incident, in 
October, 1907 — since the foregoing 
statement was written — and he con- 
firmed the story as here given. At 
the same time Mr. Purd B. Wright, 
Librarian of the St. Joseph Public 
Library, gave to this writer the 
following affidavit, made by Rob- 
ert C. Bradshaw, which is self- 


On or about May 23, 1861, I, 
Robert C. Bradshaw, was going south 
on Second Street in the city of St. 
Joseph, Missouri. When opposite the 
post office I saw men rushing east on 
Francis Street. I followed the crowd, 
arriving at "alley" between Second 
and Third streets. On looking north 
where the crowd was going, I saw 
M. JefT Thompson and others tearing 
into shreds the United States flag 
which had just been torn from the 
flag-staff of the post office building. 
The mob continued to increase, and 
in a few minutes fully five hundred 
men had assembled, when the cry was 
raised "Now for the dirty rag on 
Turner Hall." Hearing this I hast- 
ened to Turner Hall seven blocks 
away. On arriving there I found 
only a boy in charge of the building, 
whom I sent to notify members of 
the society that a "secession mob" 
was approaching the building with 
threats of destroying the same ; there- 
fore for them to come immediately 
to my assistance. I then locked the 
back or side door and took my stand 
in front of Main or Charles Street 
entrance. A few moments later the 
"mob" headed by M. Jeflf Thompson 
appeared coming towards the build- 
ing. They crossed Sixth Street, and 
when forty feet from the hall they 
were halted by M. Jeff Thompson. 
Then Alonzo W. Slayback and 
Thomas Thourghman (both well 
known to me) came forward, and in 
the name of peace and the welfare of 
the city, they asked me to take the 
flag down, saying that "Jeff" Thomp- 
son was drunk, and no one could tell 
what a "mob" under a drunken 
leader would do. I declined to com- 
ply with their request, and the parley 
was continued, when a Mr. Miller, a 
justice of the peace, came forward and 
demanded in the name of the "mayor 

and city council" that the flag be 
taken down immediately, or he would 
have me (Bradshaw) arrested, as I 
claimed to be in charge of the build- 
ing, for violating the city ordinances. 

I then asked Mr. Slayback if he 
would take charge of the door and not 
allow any one to enter during my 
absence. He said he would. I then 
told the parties I would take the flag 
down, Imt before doing so I claimed 
the right to salute it. Leaving Mr. 
Slayback in charge of the door, I went 
upstairs, then out on the roof. When 
half way from exit in roof to the flag- 
staff, the "mob" raised the cry to 
"Shoot him!" I stopped and told 
them I would take the flag down 
agreeable to the demands of the 
mayor and the city council, but no 
mob could compel me to do it, that 
I would salute the flag before lowering 
it, well knowing that ere long it would 
float in triumph over every seceding 
state. Again the cry "Shoot him! 
Shoot him!" Revolvers in great 
numbers were drawn and pointed at 
me; I could hear the click as they 
were being cocked. Therefore, I drew 
my revolvers (two, before concealed 
on my person), cocked one, then ad- 
vanced to the flag staff, seizing the 
halyard; I gave three cheers for the 
national flag, and raising my revolver, 
I fired six shots over the flag in token 
of salute, then lowering it, I took the 
flag and returned to the second story 
where it was deposited in safety. 

Going down stairs I found Mr. 
Slayback at his post, whom I thanked 
for his manner in keeping the promise. 
I also told him, while on the roof, I 
could see and face the mob, but I 
could not see him (Slayback) at the 
door; but when the "mob" yelled 
"Shoot him," I heard him tell them 
"that he would kill the first man that 
shot at Bradshaw." 

BLA/JSi: THE WliSTWAKl) \V.\\ 

The foregoing is a siKciiul hut true 
report of the "Turners Hall" flag 

(Signed) Robert C. Bradshaiv. 

State of Kansas, / 

" ss 
County of Shawnee. \ 

Subscribed and sworn to before me 
this 28th day of November, 1905: 
I further certify that I am in no wise 
interested in the claim nor concerned 
in its prosecution, and that said 
affiant is personally known to me, 
and he is a credible person. 

(Signed) H. I. Monroe, 

Deputy County Clerk, 
Topeka, Kansas. 

Original on file in office of Libra- 
rian, Public Library, St. Joseph, Mo. 

Piird B. Wright, Librarian. 

At any rate Omaha became the 
starting point of the Union Pacific 
railroad, which has been immeas- 
urably potent in the upbuilding of the 
mighty West, and in a few years 
afterward Kansas City was the start- 
ing point of another great line of the 
system, the Kansas Pacific Railroad, 
that, crossing Kansas and Colorado, 

joins other branches at Denver that 
ramify the Rocky Mountains, one 
line connecting at Cheyenne with the 
Union Pacific that connects at Ogden, 
Utah, with the Central Pacific, which 
two made the first of the lines that 
reached across the continent. 

If it is true that Thompson's act in 
hauling down "Old Glory" from its 
staff in St. Joseph caused the change 
in the starting point for the trans- 
continental road, that act also did 
much for the initiatory of two splen- 
did cities on the Missouri River as 
well as for that of many other thriving 
cities further west. 

Saving for a short distance west of 
St. Joseph, the Union Pacific and 
Central Pacific original lines follow 
practically the route taken by the 
Pony Express, and thus did those 
gallant Centaur-Mercurys with the 
caduceus of courage, fidelity, and 
endurance pave the way to an 
empire of prosperity now, that, great 
as it is, glows only as a sign of what it 
will be to coming millions. 



IN all the stories of romance, or 
reality, colossal performance and 
accomplishment under difficulties, en- 
ergy, enterprise, push, and get-there, 
the building of the Union Pacific and 

Red Cloud 
Big Ogallala Sioux Chief from another view 

Central Pacific Railroad — the first 
transcontinental line — stands out in 
history as the greatest of all the 
achievements of its kind, in any age, 
when the conditions and facilities for 
the work are understood. However, 
it is all a matter of record and the story 
compiled, in all its phases, would make 
a vast volume. It is a history that 
lives in the reports of congressional 
proceedings in which the legislation 
necessary to the Government's official 
part in the work is set forth; in the 
reports of surveyors and civil engi- 

neers and of the work of contractors; 
in the details of the proceedings of the 
syndicates of capitalists who financed 
the scheme; in the narration of inci- 
dents of bloodshed and wild and 
startling adventure, Indian fighting, 
affrays with outlaws and desperadoes, 
the trying service of soldiers, the 
hardships and exposure associated 
with weather, rugged nature and 
thousands of other difficulties that 
can better be imagined than described 
when what has been told is con- 

Hundreds of books have been 
written and printed that, in varying 
ways, give disunited details, but the 
whole story of the great work in all 
its ramifications, atmosphere, and 
environment has not been written 
into one great volume and probably 
never will be. Certainly it will not 
be undertaken here, not only because 
it would require a thousand times the 
space contemplated in this book, but 
because only a casual glance at the 
great enterprise has been intended, 
and that merely as a result leading up 
from the success of the Pony Express. 

Explorations and surveys, desul- 
tory, fitful, deviating, at first, by 
private parties and corporations, with 
spasmodic ambitions to build a road 
across the continent, began as early 
as 1853, and continued with increasing 
design and purpose until 1861, when 
Congress passed the bill favoring a 
Pacific railway, that was known as the 
Law of 1862. As a result of that bill, 
the Union Pacific Company was 
organized at Chicago, September 2, 
1862. The effort to engage capital 




'in the scheme was a failure. The 
^war being under way. the Govern- 
ment had its hands full and could only 
aid slightly in the enterprise. The 
road, however, was deemed by the 
administration a military necessity, 
and in 1864 a bill was passed by Con- 
gress that by subsidy and counte- 
nance so strengthened the situation 
that under it the Union and Central 
Pacific railroads, constituting one 
continuous line, from the Missouri 
River to the Pacific Coast, were built. 
Ground was broken at Omaha for the 
Union Pacific on the fifth day of 
November, 1865, and the last spike 
was driven at Promontory Point, 
Utah, where the Union Pacific met 
the Central Pacific, on the tenth day 
of May, 1869. 

On the occasion of the ceremony 
of "breaking ground" at Omaha, 
George Francis Train, an enthusiastic 
speaker, declared that the road would 
be completed in five years. He was 
laughed at as a dreamer. The road 
was completed in three years, six 
months, and ten days, about a year 
and a half less time than had been 
estimated by Mr. Train. 

At the beginning of the work of 
building the Union Pacific, the near- 
est railroad to Omaha was 150 miles 
eastward. Over this distance all the 
material for construction was hauled 
by wagon. This included rails, spikes 
and other iron, necessary machinery, 
that had been purchased in eastern 
cities. The laborers, the tools with 
which they were to work, and the 
supplies necessary for their suste- 
nance were transported the same way. 

"West of Omaha for 500 miles the 
route of the railroad lay over a 
region bare of timber except for the 
few cottonwoods that grew along the 
banks of the streams, and they were 
useless for railroad building purposes. 

The ties that were used in the con-, 
struction of the road were cut in 
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New 
York, and were delivered at Omaha 
at $2 . 50 per tie. 

In January, 1866, forty miles of the 
Union Pacific Railroad had been con- 
structed. During the remainder of 
that year 265 miles further were com- 
pleted, and in 1867 there were added 
285 miles, a total of 550 miles. Dur- 
ing the next fifteen months, the 
remaining distance, 534 miles, was 
completed, that being at the rate of 
about one and one-fifth miles per day. 

General Jack Casement, who went 
into the Civil War as colonel of an 
Ohio regiment, and who rose to the 
rank of brigadier-general, and a com- 
mand in the 23d Army Corps, was on 
the construction of the Union Pacific. 
Hundreds of his soldiers, and 'even 
soldiers of the Confederate army, went 
with General Casement from war to 
work. Thus, during this period of 
railway construction, his track train 
had with it, at any moment, a thou- 
sand men who at a word could be 
transformed into an army of veterans 
inured to war, and with men who had 
ranked from general to private, being 
thus entirely able to whip three times 
their number of undisciplined men. 
It was distinctly needful that this 
condition should exist, there and 
then, for occasions were frequent 
when the men in small or great detach- 
ments found it necessary to change a 
working line into a battle front on 
account of the attacks of Indians, 
generally in numbers five, or more, to 
one of the railroad hands. 

The exigencies of the previous war 
and its diversified experiences were 
potent in the construction of this 
transcontinental road. The war had 
actually made the undertaking possi- 
ble, physically and financially. Phys- 



ically it produced the men, and finan- 
cially public consent. 

Notwithstanding that the Govern- 
ment was already loaded monstrously 
with an almost inconceivable war 
debt, it floated for the enterprise fifty 
millions of a subsidy, and by this step 
created for the undertaking a credit 
that enabled the constructing organ- 
ization to bond an equal amount, and 
this combination of capital, in the 
hands and at the disposal of the 
strong and courageous men in charge, 
who also ventured their personal for- 
tunes and services in the work, tri- 
umphantly accomplished the scheme 
in a manner far beyond the most 
sanguine expectations of all con- 

The proposition before the war to 
construct a railway across the con- 
tinent 2,000 miles, and through an 
uninhabited wilderness, except for 
warlike savages, and for the most 
part over barren plains, shifting 
streams, and chaotic mountains, with- 
out a dollar of way traffic in sight, 
would have appalled the nation, had 
it been asked to give its credit, or even 
countenance, to such an apparently 
crazy scheme. In short, the people 
and their authorities would have 
promptly estopped even talk of an 
undertaking so utterly absurd, pre- 
posterous, and extravagant as this 
would have seemed to be. 

The mighty achievements of the 
republic in carrying on a war so 
prodigious and stupendous in magni- 
tude, and so far reaching in all its 
physical and financial ramifications, 
as well as in its social and commercial 
effects, widened and enlarged the 
public mind in many ways, and espec- 
ially in the direction of structural 
possibilities in domestic utilities and 
internal improvements. Thus, the 
public became far more tolerant as to 

great undertakings by Government, 
particularly because the possibilities 
of finance on a huge scale were made 
more a])parent and the viewpoint was 
generally widened. In short, ours 
had become a nation with a big "N." 

Touching the matter of railroad 
construction, distinguished civil engi- 
neers declared that necessity brought 
our during the war bold structures 
that in their rough were models of 
economy in material and strength and 
brought about the adoption of prin- 
ciples in superstructure that are used 
to-day in the highest and boldest 
work of the builders. The simple 
principles thus evolved out of neces- 
sity were applied whenever demanded 
in the construction of this great work, 
the transcontinental road, and though 
they had been reported against at the 
outset, during the war, by experienced 
and reliable engineers, were found to 
be most effectual in this work that 
tested all the forces in that line be- 
cause of the difficulties to be over- 

The enterprising and venturesome 
men, who with brain, brawn, and 
capital persisted in forwarding this 
undertaking, that has since worked 
inconceivable benefit to the region of 
its locale, to the nation, and the 
world, were, notwithstanding the 
progressive bent of the time, deemed 
by many persons of importance to be 
"fools and fanatics" in this particular. 
But other and greater spirits applaud- 
ed and encouraged them, and this was 
particularly true of the great military 
geniuses of the time and country. 
Oakes Ames, who was of the very soul 
of the enterprise, once remarked in 
this connection, speaking to an army 
officer of distinction, "What makes me 
hang on is the faith of you soldiers," 
and he was referring to such men of 
the army as Grant, Sheridan, Sher- ^ 



man, Dodge, Pope, Thomas, Augur, 
Crook, and many others who were in 
touch with the building of the road, 
in the field or otherwise officially. That 
part of the army which was brought 
into juxtaposition with the work was 
enthusiastic in aid of it, and there was 
nothing that the builders could ask, 
that the army could give, which was 
not at all times forthcoming, even in 
instances where the regulations did 
not authorize it, and where it took 
a violent stretch of authority to meet 
it. The commissary department was 
nearly always under requisition to 
the working force and was incalcu- 
lably valuable. The troops guarded 
the line, and it was surveyed, located, 
and constructed within the army's 
picket posts. 

A distinguished man, who has been 
a potent factor in the country's 
material advancement, and who had 
special advantages for observation of 
the things concerning which he was 
speaking, once said: 

"But for the railroads the great 
central region of this continent would 
be indeed a howling wilderness." 

Nothing has ever been plainer to 
those who have had the opportunity 
and the satisfaction of seeing it all — as 

have many thousands who are yet 
strong men and women — than the 
wondrous changes that have been 
wrought upon the region that they tra- 
verse by the transcontinental roads, 
of which the Union Pacific and Cen- 
tral Pacific were the pioneers and 
pace-makers. With the progress of 
civilization that followed, the turning 
of the soil and the planting of trees, 
associated with other attendant influ- 
ences, the climate changed, the rain- 
belt advanced, agriculture took pos- 
session of the desert and all the 
adjuncts, accessories, benefits and 
beatitudes that adorn and embellish 
enlightened life, came along to stay 
and increase. In the history of the 
world there has been no event that 
did more to directly upbuild a 
mighty empire of resource and 
blessed reciprocity. 

All in all, the Great Iron Trail has 
been the working arm of Civilization 
that has built for herself a palace and 
planted a garden in the desert, to the 
glory of the Republic and the benefit 
of the world. 

For all this the fleet, nervy, and 
gallant riders of the Pony Express 
were advance couriers who definitely 
marked the Westward Way. 




AMERICAN history, especially 
since the latter fifties, has been 
made so rapidly that it eclipses the 
revels of romantic dreamers and em- 

GeN". i'lUL SllLKlUAN 

barrasses the writer with its abundance 
of thrilling episodes, scenes, incidents, 
and occurrences in the region whose 
first regularly transacted business 
affair was the Pony Express. So 
prolific are they that volumes could 
be filled, and consequently the lati- 
tude of this publication is confined to 
what was practically the last chapter 
of Indian warfare so far as it deals 
with that subject; as growing out of 
the great things that followed the 
Pony Express. 

Every inch of ground on the his- 
toric Overland trail has been made 
sacred by events, adventures, and 
experiences that will fill libraries in 
• the future when the local legends are 

compiled, and the time will come 
when the legendary lore of Europe, 
from the time of the Crusaders to 
historic Waterloo, will be eclipsed by 
the deeds of daring and 
hair-breadth escapes, trials, 
sufferings, and hardships 
of the early explorers, 
pioneers, scouts, and army 
folks that opened the way 
from the days of Lewis and 
Clark to the time of the fur 
traders, trappers from Fort 
St. Louis, led by the Cho- 
teaus and others; during the 
expeditions of Pathfinder 
Fremont, guided by Kit 
Carson, carving the way 
from the Missouri to the new 
acquisitions in California, on 
down to the time when it 
became necessary to 'grapple 
with the obstructing savage 
for final decision as inaugu- 

Chief Gail 
A Brilliant Ogallala Leader 




Chief John Grass 

Uncapapa Sioux Statesman 

rated by General Sheridan with the 
superbly equipped army he found 
under his command at the finish of 
the Civil War. 

Prolific as was and is the story of a 
most strenuous, sanguinary invasion 
of the lands west of the Alleghany 
Mountains, the crossing of the Ohio 
and reaching the Mississippi, the 
occupation of the great central plains, 
from the Missouri to the Rockies, 
and from the Red River in the North 
to the Rio Grande in the South, sur- 
passed it in bloody story and rapidity 
of action, and there is no doubt that 
in no epoch of history were there so 
many startling incidents as resulted 
from the vigorous contest and settle- 
ment of the "Great American Desert." 

The marvelous progress and pros- 
perity succeeding the establishment 
of the Union Pacific Railroad has 
partaken almost of the miraculous, 
and the evolution from savage con- 
ditions to the height of civiHzation 
has wiped out apparently the scars 
so deeply made as to cause them to 
be almost forgotten. In fact, the 
transition has taken place during the 
lives — the adult active lives, of many 
of the participants, both red and 
white, still living. It is here but just, 

to refer to the nation's debt of grati- 
tude to the army men and their as- 
sociate scouts and guides that were the 
'wedge' that ploughed the way in 
achieving the results. In this arena 
was fought, the reader must remem- 
ber, the last battles of the struggle 
that had lasted nearly three hundred 
years with a gallant foe stubborn to 
almost the extent of suicide, as were 
the primitive protestors against the 
march of civilization. The fate of 
the American Indian is an example 
of the survival of the fittest. These 
people were once the sole owners of 
the trackless forests, the mighty 
rivers, the great mountains, wood- 
lands, and plains of the then unknown 
and even unheard of country that we 
now call America. They were in the 
full sense of the term "monarchs of all 
they surveyed." As far as eye could 
reach or limbs could bear them, 
whatsoever the sole of their foot 
rested upon, was theirs. They had a 
religion, a history, traditions, a nation 
all their own, a Utopia. The poet 
Longfellow has done much to bring 



A great Warriopof the Brule Siwix 

.f- tj'*'~t-^ 



before the mind's eye a true picture 
of the primitive life: 

With the odors of the forest 
With the dew and damp of meadows 
With the curHng smoke of wigwams, 
With the rushing of great rivers. 

From the Great Lakes of the North- 
From the land of the Ojibways, 
From the land of the Dacotahs 
From the mountains, moor, and fern- 
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-hag, 
Feeds among the reeds and rushes. 

The centuries of deadly combat 
between the white man and the red 
was the result of the then existing 
belief on the one hand that the right 
of discovery gave the right of con- 
quest and acquisition; and on the 
other that possession is nine points 
of the law, and that equity and honor 
demanded the defense of his home. 
The Indian knew nothing of the much- 
vaunted beauties of civilization or the 
fruit of the so-called progress, having 
only an innate sense of what was 
justice and equity. 

The army and the scout were the 
ones who fell heir to precedence and 
consequent prominence on the firing 
line in this "irrepressible conflict," 
whose merit must be decided by the 
results of the greatest good to the 
greatest numbers. The pages of the 
world's history held nothing to equal 
it in sanguinary character and bitter- 
ness of feeling, no warfare required 
such strategic skill, personal quali- 
ties and resourcefulness. 

In certain characteristics the Indian 
excelled, and this necessitated the 
acquisition of similar qualities by his 
white opponent ere success could be 

After the results, none respected 
each other more and none became 
more sympathetic than did the old 
white and red campaigners. 

The red man of the western moun- 
tains and plains was brave, reckless, 
and wily; his white enemy had to 
keep every faculty on the alert to 
escape the results or counteract his 
cunning. The result was that Ameri- 
can officers trained in that school 
acquired qualities that made them 
preeminent among military men when 
opportunity occurred in civilized war- 

It is fitting here to remark and call 
attention of the reader to the differ- 
ence between Indian warfare and 
civilized warfare. One was a fight 
to the death, with torture preceding 
it if captured, while the other was 
governed by certain amenities if cap- 
tured. Capture generally meant good 
treatment. It was in this school of 
savage warfare where every faculty 
was developed that graduated the 
great chieftains of the Civil War on 
both sides. The Lees, Van Doms, 
Wheelers, of the South, and the Sher- 
mans, Sheridans, Merritts, Crooks 
Emorys, Frenches, Royals, Hayses, 
and Carrs, of the North, became distin- 
guished leaders in the great civil strife. 
At the finish of this struggle General 
Sheridan found himself possessed of 
an army of veterans recruited from 
both sides, when he took command of 
the Division of the West. While the 
whites were occupied with their own 
conflict of opinion and arms, the 
Indian had revelled almost unmo- 
lested on the plains, and in winter was 
perfectly immune on account of the 
climatic conditions, and lived in his 
isolated camp in luxurious ease and 
domestic comfort. In fact, up to that 
time the Indian and the white man, 
if possible, generally avoided each 
other, but Sheridan conceived the 
idea of inaugurating new methods. 
He introduced the new system of 
Indian fighting, which was to "trail, 


hunt for, follow, find, and kill under increased force. The difficulties were 
any conditions at the time, season, or now fully realized, the blinding snow 
climate," believing this would strike mixed with sleet, the piercing wind, 
a telling blow to the red marauder in thermometer below zero — with green 
winter when he dwelt in fancied bushes only for fuel — occasioned 
security and was not prepared to intense suffering. Our numbers and 
make long forced marches as in the companionship alone prevented us 
summer, when nature supplied his from being lost or perishing, a fate 
commissary with game and his horses that stared in the face of the frontiers- 
and cattle with an abundance of men, guides, and scouts on their soli- 
grass. This, of course, meant the tary missions." 

white man confronting the difficulties During these times occurred innu- 
of campaigning in the deep snow, the merable contests of various degrees 
death-dealing blizzards and the diffi- and importance, such as the battle of 
culties of climate, at times 40° below The Wichita, under the dashing Cust- 
zero. We quote his own description er; Summit Springs, under that wily 
of the conditions from his autobi- commander in Indian warfare, the 
ography: Chapter XII, pp. 281-289, gallant Eugene A. Carr; and the a^,'^^ 
pubHshed in 1888, concerning the fight on the Canadian between Gen. ^^,^A »^ 
first winter campaign against Indians Sandy Forsythe and Roman Nose, in /Br/^'/'*' 
on the then uninhabited and bleak which Lieut. Beecher was killed; and 
plains, in the winter of 1868; he numerous similar sanguinary con- 
says: tests, each worthy of extended atten- 
"The difficulties and hardships to tion from the pen of the historian and 
be encountered had led several experi- the pencil of the painter. 
enced officers of the army and some These covered the period of the 
frontiersmen like old Jim Bridger, days of the Pony Express, succeeded 
the famous scout and guide of earlier by the stage coach and the telegraph 
days, to discourage the project. wire, and the railroad was thus en- 
Bridger even went so far as to come abled to be built under the protection 
out from St. Louis to discourage the thus afforded. It was in these times 
attempt. I decided to go in person, that Red Cloud, then Red Emperor 
bent on showing the Indians that they of the American plains, became a 
were not secure from punishment terror, his very name creating con- 
because of inclement weather, an fusion when his proximity was heard 
ally on which they had hitherto of, and who made such audacious 
relied with much assurance. We forays as to attack, capture, and 
started, and the very first night a massacre the soldiers at Fort Kearney, 
blizzard struck us and carried away Then came the period when, with 
our tents. The gale was so violent the aid of the telegraph and the rail- 
that they could not be put up again ; road, rapidity of information and 
the rain and snow drenched us to the facility of transportation enabled the 
skin. Shivering from wet and cold, troops to beat back the savage 
I took refuge under a wagon, and hordes and drive them northward, 
there spent such a miserable night culminating in the campaign of '76, 
that, when morning came, the gloomy giving the bloody chapter of Custer's 
predictions of old man Bridger and annihilation with his entire command, 
others rose up before me with greatly but resulting in a very perceptible ■> 


blazim; the westward way 

breaking up of the red man's power. 
With some desultory forays this con- 
tinued to fill the atmos])hcre with 
danger to the encroaching settle- 

ments until i8go when it was destined 
to be fought out in the expiring effort 
of the despairing foe, "The Ghost-. 
Dance War." 



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Gkx. Crook 

Gov. Foster 
The Sioux Commission 

Senator Warner 

WE deem it of importance and in- 
terest to refer to this Ghost- 
Dance War and its causes, as its results 
have been so stupendous in accom- 
plishing the absolute eradication of 
anything approaching Indian war 
again ; it cleared the atmosphere so 
effectively that it is worthy of men- 
tion in detail as being the finish at the 
foothills of the Rocky Mountains of 
the contest waged from the shores of 
New England across a vast continent 
and settling forever the fate of the 
red man, which is assimilation into 
the political body and social condi- 
tions of its conqueror. 

At this time the Sioux nation was 
the most powerful, possessing about 

twenty-five thousand members, dis- 
tributed between the various tribes, 
from the Sitting Bull's Uncapapas 
of the North or Sitting Bull tribe 
and the Brule and the Ogallalas, 
or Red Cloud contingent in the 
south of Dakota. These Indians 
retained pretty much the "blanket 
Indian" condition and were some- 
what morose in character, depre- 
cating the loss of the Black Hills, and 
quietly resenting continued encroach- 
ments of the settlers, with thousands 
of the old warriors still living who 
regaled the young with stories of the 
glories of the times just alluded to 
when they roamed at will, gathered 
the trophies of war and the honors of 




the chase. There were about three 
hundred thousand Indians on the 
different reservations from the British 
possessions to the Rio Grande. Tlicsc 
Indians had become friendly with 
each other instead of as in old, being 
enemies; and the discontented rode 
from band to band on visits, until 
there became a community of senti- 
ment and feeling among them as 
regards the wrongs that they felt they 
had suffered. Tliis was quietly cul- 
tivated to an extent known to Imt 
few in the government service, but 
the argus eye of the army discovered 
that something was being done. In 
the summer of 1889, Government 
commissioners came among the Indi- 
ans and persuaded them to sign away 
several million acres of land on 
promises that were not promptly 
kept; this was owing to the delay of 
Congress in appropriating the money. 

Gen. Crook, who had conducted 
the negotiations, it was said, was so 
much affected by the delay and the 
breach of faith as it appeared to the 
Indians, which he regarded as a 
personal dishonor, that many be- 
lieved it .to have hastened his sudden 

Add to this the influence of the 
Sioux Chief, Sitting Bull, the red 
man's Oliver Cromwell — from their 
view a patriot and a leader of rare 
ability — ever ready and eager to re- 
trieve his poeple's birth-right, and it 
is easy to see that the material for 
general conflagration was at hand 
and the conditions for it were timely. 
This condition was created when the 
Utes through some machination of 
an inspector or some of their own 
fanatical medicine men claimed to 
have had a visit from the Messiah. 
The Messiah was the red man's Mani- 
tou or God, and the teaching of the 
missionaries had fullv instructed the 

Sioux, and the Indians in general, 
in the story of our Saviour's coming 
on earth, his persecution and cruci- 
fixion, and they were taught by the 
white man that he was to return to 
earth again. This doctrine fitted 
well into the argument of the class of 
Indians that always desired to fight 
and played into the hands of the dis- 
contented and spread with amazing 
rapidity all through the Sioux nation, 
and eventually to every tribe, even 
inoculating the civilized ones, from 
the Red River in the North down to 
the Yaqui Indians of Mexico. In 
fact, it was like all religious crazes 
among our colored races, and even 
among the whites. It played upon 
the emotions and worked its victims 
up to a fanatical frenzy that made 
them invite death or torture if they 
could have the satisfaction of fighting 
or killing their enemies. Some of 
the teachings were, of course, of the 
glorious future in the happy hunting 
grounds that could be achieved by 
death in battle, accepted with as 
strong a faith as ever those of Chris- 
tian martyrs. 

To explain the attention they had 
paid to the arguments that our 
Saviour was coming on earth again, 
but to them only, this story, which the 
writer knows to be true from the lips 
of Short Bull, the Messiah high -priest 
of the Ogallala, will assist. When 
asked why he advocated the doctrine 
of the return at this time of our Sav- 
iour to the Indians and with the inten- 
tion of annihilating the white man 
from the earth, he repHed, through an 
interpreter, as follows: 

"You white people here have three 
religious sects at the agency, three 
different churches; each one preaches 
to the Indian w^hat you call Chris- 
tianity. (He alluded to the Metho- 
dist, Episcopal, and Catholic churches 



Major Johv M. Burke 
Assisted with Gen. J. M. Lee in peace negotiations 

that were at the agency.) Now all 
these three medicine men of these 
churches differ in every respect and 
preach different things to us, but 
mainly impress us, each one, that the 
other two are very wrong. In fact, 
out of about fifty white people at the 
agency, they are the only people who 
do not speak as they pass by, but 
they all agree and all preach these 
four or five facts, agreeing on the 
same. They teach that the Messiah 
once came on earth for the good of 
the white man. They teach he is the 
Son of God and the wisest man that 
ever came on earth. They teach he 
had miraculous power. They teach 
that the white man tortured, cruci- 
fied, and killed him, and they teach 
that he will return to earth again. 
These are about all the things they 
agree on, and we have a right to 
expect that they are nearer truth 
than anything they say. Now, if 
the Messiah came on earth, and was 

the wisest man, and if the white man 
tortured and killed him, and he is 
going to come on earth again, would 
he not be a heap fool to come back 
to the white man? That is the rea- 
son we believe he is coming again, and 
if he is all powerful, as they say, he 
must be coming to avenge himself 
by helping the red man and with his 
miraculous power annihilate the white 
man. How?" 

This reply simply shows the 
thoughtfulness given and the argu- 
mentativeness created by delving 
into a subject so mysterious that it 
creates food for thought among the 
white men. The Indian, one can 
see from this, is a thinker, and really 
not so much of a fool as he looks. 
He is, for instance, a naturally gifted 
orator, when occasion requires, but 
he seems to know generally that 
silence is golden. Those who have 
met such men as "Sitting Bull," 

Gen. Jesse Lee 
Burke's confrere in peace negotiations 



"John Grass." "Running Antelope." 
"Red Cloud." American Horse," 
"Short Bull." and others with an 
intelligent interpreter found them in 
argument, foemen worthy of the most 
astute statesman's consideration. 

On the occasion of the Congres- 
sional Committee visiting the north - 
em Sioux at Fort Yates (Standing 
Rock Agency) for a consultation in 
regard to selling the land. Sitting 
Bull was as usual doggedly opposed 
to the scheme. This red statesman 
was always anxious to show his 
people his contempt for the white 
men and his aptness for repartee. 
The distinguished committee, indi- 
vidually, all referred to the fact that 
the red men and white men were 
brothers, and the same God of the 
white man was the Manitou of the 
Indian. After an exhaustive session. 
Sitting Bull arose after the last had 
concluded and alluded to the fact 
that each had reiterated and empha- 
sized the fact of the universal God. 
Pointing his finger at them, he said: 

"You say red and white have the 
same God, who created all mankind 
and everything in the world; that 
his all-seeing eye pervades the uni- 
verse, and that he knows everything 
even to the fall of the bird (the 
sparrow). If such is the case, he 
must have known what he was doing 
when he created me. He made me 
a free man and not an agency Indian 
and by the Eternal (only a little 
more plainly) I will never consent to 
be one." 

Rising, the old warrior walked out 
with impressive dignity, and the 
council would have ended but for the 
action of Indian agent, Major Mc- 
Laughlin, who arrested Sitting Bull, 
and compelled him to permit the 
negotiations to proceed. 

When one considers the Indians, 

numV)ering 300,000, North and South, 
could practically have recruited 
50,000 able warriors, armed and 
mounted, one may conceive what 
might have occurred had the fanatical 
conspiracy broken out at the oi)ening 
of summer, when nature's commissary 
was available for them, and the rich 
settlements, with myriad hordes of 
cattle and provisions of all kind, would 
have given a grand feast to these 
nomadic people such as has never 
been enjoyed l;y murdering marau- 

The craze as to the imminent 
return of the Messiah, man of supreme 
ability, who was to give back America 
to its original owners, wiping out the 
whites and their cities, and bringing 
with him great store of game with 
which to re-stock the purified plains 
and prairies, was started first among 
the Utes. That the Indians should 
have thereupon originated the Mes- 
siah dance should not be considered 
extraordinary. They have a special 
dance to suit every occasion. The 
was dance is the style of gyration 
most familiar to the white intelli- 
gence, and naturally when it was 
rumored that the Indians were danc- 
ing, the neighboring settlers took 
alarm. If it seems a ridiculous thing 
to invoke the Saviour by a series of 
frenzied jumpings and bowlings, we 
have only to consider the peculiarities 
of many existing sects of our people, 
and it will be clear that we are not 
so far ahead of them in this respect. 
The dance, at first, was a form of 
prayer, engaged in by the young 
braves after a sort of Turkish bath, 
and accompanied by the singing of 
hymns after their own savage fashion. 

Some of the Pine Ridge Sioux went 
up on a visit to the Utes in July of 
1890, and found this lively business 
going on. They were much inter- 



James B, Hickok 

Known as "Wild Bill." In one fight, single-handed 
and alone, he killed ten desperadoes 

ested, and took back a report to their 
own tribes, who held that if the 
Messiah were really coming, it would 
not do to let him fall short of a wel- 
come on their part. Their medicine 
mien, accompanied by Short Bull, of 
the Ogallalas, saw that they must 
either lead the dancing or get 
left, so, like medicine men in 
all times, and all nations, 
they took it cordially in hand, 
provided the music, and 
arranged the figures. By the 
usual train of logic in such 
religious movements, they 
arrived at a further con- 
clusion ; If the Messiah were 
going to stamp out the whites, 
should his children sit idly by 
and let him do all the hard 
work unaided? Just as Peter 
the Hermit reasoned that as 
Heaven desired to drive the 
Turks out of Palestine, it 
was clearly the duty of 
the Crusaders to take a hand 

and go and knock the said Turks 
over the head with battle axes, so 
the Sioux, incited by Sitting Bull, 
The Right Reverend Short Bull- 
now become "High Priest" — and 
Kicking Bear, got out their guns and 
prepared to help divine Providence 
to the best of their ability when- 
ever the Messiah should appear. It 
doesn't seem to have struck them as at 
all ridiculous that Wankantanka, the 
Great Spirit, being omnipotent, should 
require the help of the Sioux, Brules, 
or others, in working out his 

Let us not sneer at the half -starved 
Indians. The extent to which the 
armies of Europe have sought to 
assist the Almighty to crush out the 
opposition, even in recent times, may 
be read in the sermons of archbishops 
and the thanksgivings of emperors. 
In this respect the ancient Jews set 
them a pious example. 

At this supreme psychic moment, 
when the dancing at Pine Ridge was 
waxing fast and furious, and the 
fanatical creatures were falling into 
swoons, seeing visions under the 

Gen. 'i*»Mv" FoRSVTH 














2 > 

(- — 
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O u 


















influence of some sort of hypnotism 
when prophecies of earthquakes and 
drought were being strangely ful- 
filled, a superior genius of Washing- 
ton stepped into the thick of the 
trouble and brought about a crisis. 
The agent in charge of the Pine 
Ridge reservation was ordered, with 
fourteen Indian police, up to the camp 
of a gentleman named White Bird to 
"stop the dancing" of five or six 
hundred crazy warriors. He was 
confronted by a score of braves, 
armed with Winchester rifles, and 
made to tuni back to the agency. 
This, of course, was an act of rebel- 
lion. The report spread, the episode 
was magnified into a successful bat- 
tle, and every pious Indian in America 
commenced dancing the Ghost Dance 
to the best of his ability. The 
settlers near the reservations packed 
up their traps and fled to the cities, 
and Kicking Bear, with Short Bull 
and a considerable following of enthu- 
siastic braves, under the venerable 
Two Strike, High Pipe, and High 
Hawk, put on full uniforms of war 
paint, and made for what is known 
as the Bad Lands, in the central 
fastness of which is a natural fortress, 
approachable only by one path, 
twenty feet wide. Here they pitched 
their camp, and breathed defiance 
to sixty millions of Americans. The 
plateau was 150 feet above the sur- 
rounding country. They requisi- 
tioned all the cattle and everything 
movable for miles around, and while 
the young braves were out thieving, 
the High Priest made them highly 
decorative shirts, which he assured 
them were bullet-proof. The "medi- 
cine" in these shirts was so potent 
that they would turn a bullet or the 
edge of a sharp knife. But it was 
understood that any brave who 
attempted to cut them by way of 

Chief Good Horse and Wife 
Prominent man of present-day Dakota Sioux 

experiment would be suddenly par- 
alyzed by divine interposition. These 
were the famous "Ghost Shirts." 

This condition of affairs created 
intense excitement through the West, 
and the whole country being inflamed 
with incendiary reports, Washington 
became agitated, and the military 
was ordered to the points of danger. 
It might here be remarked that Gen. 
Nelson A. Miles, commanding the 
West, had been thoroughly informed, 
and was equal to the emergency. As 
usual, a great many divergent opin- 
ions contended for supremacy at 
Washington as to what should be 
done, and as usual "too many cooks 
spoiled the broth." In the course of 
a short time a conflict was precipi- 
tated that resulted in the death of 
Sitting Bull and a further inflaming 
of the excited red men of the North. 
But Gen. Miles had his troops quickly 
placed in position to prevent a gen- 
eral conflagration by preventing com- 
munication over an extensive area. 
Many bands deserted the Standing 
Rock Agency of the North and 
started to make junction with the 
Ogallalas, Brules, and other discon- 



tented triljcs of the Soulli that luul 
already thrown dcnvn the gauntlet 
and become hostile in quite formid- 
able numbers and began to wage 
war upon the whites and also the 
neutral and conservative members 
of their own tribes who refused to 
join in the forays. These neiitral 
and conservative Indians, hundreds 
of whom had travelled extensively 
with Col. Cody, became a great factor 
for peace in the stirring conditions. 
Some even enlisted as scouts and 
guides and assisted very materially. 
As the principal outbreak culminated 
in December, the reader can imagine 
what the climatic conditions were for 
a campaign amidst snow and blizzard 
and how trying it was on the white 
soldiers, to an extent only appre- 
ciated by those who have endured 
such privations. One of the first 
moves of the Indians had been to 
capture provisions, taking Govern- 
ment herds wherever possible, and 
supplies of all kind where available. 
Marches and counter marches, scalp- 
ings and skirmishes innumerable re- 
sulted in the efforts to corral the 
recalcitrants, at the same time pre- 
vent communications. This was 
fairly well accomplished, and event- 
ually the Brules and Ogallalas were 
segregated and prevented ftom escap- 
ing southward and precipitating a 
guerrilla w^arfare on the settlements. 
The national troops were assisted by 
the Nebraska militia under Gen. 
Colbv of the Nebraska National 
Guard, on whose staff was Brigadier 
Gen. W. F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill"), 
and was so placed as to be of great 
assistance, Buffalo Bill joining Gen. 
Miles as volunteer advisory scout with 
Frank Gruard as headquarter 's 

The formidable bands under Chiefs 
Big Foot and Hump from the North- 

ern Sioux escaped southward with 
the purpose of joining Kicking Bear 
and Short Bull in the Bad Lands. 
Miles kad sent Capt. Baldwin (now 
major-general) and Capt. Maus (now 
colonel) under a flag of truce to talk 
with Hump and Big Foot for the 
purpose of getting them to come in, 
assuring them of proper treatment. 
He had previously defeated both of 
these chiefs, and Hump paid atten- 
tion to the invitation and came in 
with a powerful band of warriors. 
All the Indians liked "Beaver Coat," 
as they called Gen. Miles. Big 
Foot's band refused to come in, but 
Hump and his warriors came. It 
was lucky they did. Had they been 
with the other band that attacked 
the white men at Wounded Knee or 
at Pine Ridge, it would have been a 
repetition of the Custer massacre. 
However, Gen. Miles, with his char- 
acteristic diplomacy, arranged places 
on his staff with rank and showy uni- 
forms for Hump and seven of his 
leading warriors as scouts, taking 
them with him to Pine Ridge, and 
leaving the warriors in charge of 
military in Black Hill camp. 

But Big Foot was not to be paci- 
fied so easily. He and his fighters 
passed Gen. Sumner and all the other 
outposts, succeeded in getting almost 
within hailing distance of Kicking 
Bear, and were discovered by Major 
Whiteside of the seventh cavalry, 
who was reinforced by General 
"Tony" Forsythe, who commanded 
in the battle. Little Bit, Lew Chan- 
grau. White, and "No Neck," and 
"Tanklin Charlie," Indian scouts, 
tried to induce the Indians to sur- 
render. The terms were partly 
agreed upon. Capt. Wallace was 
with Phillip Wells in the village to 
superintend the surrender of Big 
Foot, when the medicine man, who 



The Press Contingent at Wounded Knee 
Reading from left to right the persons standing are: Buckskin Jack; Kelly, Lincoln Journal; Crissy, Omaho Bee; 
Charles Seymour, Chicago Herald; Bracket, Chicago Inter-Ocean; Smith, Omaha Herald; Clark, Chicago Tribune; 
Charles Allen, N. Y. Herald; O'Brien, Associated Press; Clark, Scout. Sitting are John M. Burke, McDonough, N. Y. 
World; Indian Commissioner Cooper. 

believed in the bullet deflecting qual- 
ities of the ghost-dance shirt, gave a 
signal that precipitated the battle of 
Wounded Knee. There were about 
two hundred and forty-five Indians 
when the battle began. When it was 
over, 225 of them were dead and the 
rest wounded; three of the wounded 
escaped to the hostiles, and an imme- 
diate attack the same day was made 
on the Agency at Pine Ridge. The 
agency was garrisoned with 450 men 
under Gen. Brooks ; the attack of the 
Indians came near being a surprise, 
but with the troops, the Indian police, 
and Indian scouts the attack was 
repulsed, and the agency was saved. 
The fight at Wounded Knee was 
about one of the first to demonstrate 
the destructiveness of the modern 
rifle, as nearly twenty years had 
elapsed since either Europe or Amer- 
ica had tried perfected fire-arms. 
The fact that 60 per cent of the com- 

batants, white and red, were killed or 
wounded, in the space of about half 
an hour, testified that a new epoch 
in war was at hand, which has since 
been demonstrated in Manchuria. 
The accuracy of the aim of Uncle 
Sam's boys was attested, and the 
dogged stubbornness of the Indian 
was proven. Seventy-eight of the 
soldiers ^ere disabled and some of 
the Indian allies. 

One peculiarity of the Indian in 
war is that he reaches a state of 
ecstasy of excitement when he wants 
blood and plenty of it, and in that 
condition regards the prospect of 
death as a pleasure. That feeling 
gives him an advantage over the 
white warrior, who, of course, does 
not desire to die uselessly. It makes 
the Indian reckless, daring, and 

In this instance, inspired addi- 
tionally by the confidence in the 


BLAZixa tup: wfstward way 

"Ghost Sliirts." they stood uj) bravely 
until struck down to the last man. 

The battle of Wounded Knee was 
a surprise as it was understood that 
Big Foot had agreed to surrender, 
and Capt. Wallace and some others — 
among them Scout Wells — were in 
the camp about to receive their fire- 
arms, when Big Foot's medicine man 
threw a handful of earth up and 
shouted out a cue that meant to fire 
and fight. Brave Capt. Wallace was 
killed, and afterwards his body was 
found surrounded by five dead war- 
riors with five chambers of his revol- 
ver empty. His skull had been 
smashed and he was shot through 
the stomach. Philip Wells, inter- 
preter, had his nose almost severed 
from his face, so close was their con- 
tact. His nose was only hanging by 
a shred when Surgeon Ewing, right 
there amid the flying bullets, sewed 
back the olfactory arrangement, 
plastered it over with strips, and with 
a handkerchief bound round it. Wells 
picked up his rifle and continued the 
fight. The temperature was so far 
below zero that the mended nose 
healed, and to-day, with pince nez 
spectacles on it, no one can notice the 

Capt. Capron (whose son, Capt. 
Capron, was killed in the -battle of 
Santiago with Roosevelt's Rough 
Riders, while the father was com- 
mander of the artillery in the same 
battle) received a close call, the bullet 
penetrating overcoat, belt, and under- 
clothes, and making a warm trail 
around his left side. Lieutenant 
Garlington (of Arctic fame) was 
desperately wounded, and Lieutenant 
Hawthorne (now colonel) was struck 
by a bullet that hit his watch, driving 
the works into his body, making a 
fearfully dangerous wound, but from 
which he recovered to become famous 

in the Philip]>ines. Lieutenant Mann 
of Wallace and Garlington 's company 
was so seriously wounded he died on 
reaching Fort Riley. 

In this fight, y(jung Cor|)oral 
Heimer, after all his officers and the 
sergeant had been disabled, handled 
the gun single-handed, and with one 
shot, it is reported, killed seven 
Indians. He was honorably mentioned 
and received a congressional medal. 

One little Indian boy, after the 
battle, was found behind a bush 
clapping his hands in childish glee 
in imitation of rifle fire, seemingly 
pleased with the racket the melee 
created. He is now a successful 
young ranchman on the reservation 
known as Johnny Burke No Neck, 
after his red and white adopters on 
the day of the fight. 

That night there came up a terrible 
blizzard during which Forsythe suc- 
ceeded in returning to the agency 
with his dead and wounded. It 
might here be remarked that three 
days afterward, under the pile of 
dead, was found two little Indian 
female papooses, one frozen so it died 
that night, and the other survived. 
The other is now a young lady in the 
family of Gen. Colby of Nebraska. 

The next day there was a very- 
heavy skirmish around the agency on 
what is called The Mission, in w^hich 
the Indians showed considerable strat- 
egy' and came near making another 
surprise. The arrival at an oppor- 
tune moment of Gen. "Fighting" 
Guy Henry's cavalry, after covering 
125 miles in twenty-four hours, 
turned the tide of events, and the 
Indians soon found themselves sur- 
rounded in a cordon of sixteen miles 
by about 3500 soldiers with gatling 
guns accompanying them, under the 
command of the flower of the old 
Indian fighters of experience, and ■ 



Hostile Camp 

the Indians, though outnumbering 
the whites, became amenable to 
suggestions from their friends under 
the circumstances. 

Many of the conservative and 
neutral Indians, like Man-Afraid-Of- 
His-Horses, Rocky Bear, American 
Horse, Major MacGillicudy (one of 
their former celebrated agents), Char- 
ley Allen, Father Juet, and Major 
John M. Burke had spent weeks of 
hardship and toil in efforts to pacify 
and bring to reason the excited red 
skins. Major Burke had come from 
Alsace-Lorraine (Europe) with Col. 
Cody and seventy-five traveled Indi- 
ans for the purpose of helping to stem 
the tide in a condition of affairs that 
threatened to give excuse for the 
eventual annihilation of the recalci- 
trant Sioux. 

Peace meeting of Gen. Lee, Major 
Burke, and Indian Leaders 

Red Cloud, He Dog, and others had 
been "rushed" out to the hostile 
camp by the war party during the 
attack on the agency, and Rocky 
Bear and a band of pacificators 
gained access to the leaders through 
a night march with instructions to 
give them an ultimatum. It was, 
that Gen. Miles prayed for, hoped 
for, and desired to lead them to an 
honored peace as their friend, but 
failing in which their chastisement 
would be such as to leave few of them 
to weep at the ensuing obsequies. 

After repeated exchanges between 
the negotiants, a flag of truce party 
informed the general that hostilities 
would be stopped until they could 
meet some white friends "that would 
talk straight and not with forked 



Spotted Tail 
Chief ot the Brule Sioux assassinated by Crow Dog 

An armistice was arranged, the 
Indians in the cordon anxiously 
waiting and the troops on hill and 
dale standing guard day and night — 
both at a tension liable at any mo- 
ment to be broken by the most trivial 
incident or injudicious move of the 
lined-up guard or guarded. 

Many names were parleyed over, 
and at last the general commanding 
was informed that the Brules Sioux 
would listen to and believe in the 
Great Father's "First Good Man" 
that had been sent to them as agent 
after the War of 1876, Capt. Jesse M. 
Lee. (Capt. Lee afterwards attained 
distinction in the Spanish-American 
War, in the Philippines, and was 
wounded at Tien Tsin in China, and 
lately retired as major-general.) 

Capt. Lee was in California, and 
this necessitated a further delay of 
seven days before his possible arrival 
— seven days and nights of the most 

intense anxiety on the ])art of Gen. 
Miles and the white peace party as 
well as the red pacificators, as the 
younger warriors on both sides had 
hail just enough "bajjtismal fire" to 
insi)ire them for further war. 

An incident occurred that only the 
distance of the outpost, the lateness 
in the evening, the suppression at the 
moment of the fact, and the coolness 
(if the old veteran commanders, pre- 
vented this tension from snapping 
and precipitating a sanguinary com- 
bat that would have ecli])sed any- 
thing ever known in Indian warfare — 
a slaughter from the Gatling gun 
advantage of the whites that would 
have been simply appalling. At the 
same time it would have been unex- 
plainable to the many well-meaning 
l)usy-bodies who presume to intrude 
their philanthropies on occasions of 
impracticability — who know the bet- 
ter side of the red man in repose, but 
cannot imagine the fanatical zeal, 
the terrible implacability with which 
when aroused he wages war to the 
death, torture to the limit, on the 
expiring victim, so that an engage- 
ment is necessarily a fight to the 

This incident was the killing of the 
•brave and excellent young officer, 
Lieut. Casey, who, as chief of a band 
of Cheyenne scouts, had made a 
record for daring and ability that 
promised him a great future as a 
military man of rare initiative. 

This time the pitcher went once too 
often to the well, for in trying to 
locate the topographical conditions 
of the hostile camp, in case of action, 
and while spying into its secrets, he 
was detected and killed by a young 
Sioux named "Plenty Horses." 

Plenty Horses was afterwards ac- 
quitted in a civil trial for murder on 
the testimony of army officers that 



"it was war" and excusable, and that 
similar action would have been jus- 
tifiable on the part of an army out- 
post guard. 

Fortunately the armistice lasted 
until Capt. Lee's arrival, as had it not, 
no doubt, an action might have per- 
mitted numerous bands to escape, 
bands sufficiently strong to have 
swept down through the settlements 
carrying death and devastation so 
disastrously as to check for years the 
growth of the great Northwest. 

With little delay the two accredited 
peace commissioners, accompanied 
by Man-Afraid, legitimate hereditary 
leader of all the Sioux, Rocky Bear, 
in veracity the George Washington of 
red men, American Horse, famed as an 
orator, and other Indian allies, started 
for the rendezvous of Wolf Creek. 

As the cavalcade moved out of 
sight over the Pine Ridge Hills, many 
a group of officers and men discussed 
the fate of former commissioners, and 
allusions were whisperingly made to 
the .death of Gen. Canby and the 
massacre of Meeker. When, at sun- 
down, the commissioners returned 
accompanied by cheering hostiles to 
within eye sight of their waiting, 
anxious friends at headquarters, 
cheers that presaged the success of 
their pacific efforts, thus assuring the 
prevention of the sacrifice of many 
gallant lives — the peans were taken 
up — the news ran around the cordon 
and mountain, plain and dale re- 
sounded with hosannahs of joy as 
the result was the promise of "peace." 

The time will come when the pic- 
turesque scene of the racial conference 
on Wolf Creek will inspire some 
artist's pencil to adorn the capitol's 
walls with the reproduction of the 
"Red Man's Last Stand," as in a 
natural amphitheatre of hills rising 
from the valley, ten thousand blanket 

Indians (hostiles, friendlies, and neu- 
trals having all assembled) gathered 
to listen to assurances to "come in and 
all will be forgiven." Hearkening to 
the voices of two men — Capt. Lee and 
Major Burke — whom they knew, re- 
spected, and could believe — men whose 
familiar faces dispelled the uncer- 
tainty and suspicion that such a 
generous clean-slate ofifer was not a 
deception — the next day a flag-of- 
truce party concluded with Gen. 
Miles the terms of surrender, liberal 
in every way, only stipulating that 
twenty-seven of the most active hos- 
tiles of Kicking Bear and Short 
Bull's followers should accompany 
him to (Fort Sheridan) Chicago as 

Next came the surrender, followed 
by reviews of each other on opposite 
sides of the stream of both white and 
red warriors; reviews that inspired 
additional respect for each other, the 
red man's review challenging the 
admiration of veterans, some of 
whose experiences dated from the 
fifties in border warfare, such as 
Generals Carr, Wheating, Whiteside, 
Hayes, Henry, and others; from the 
sixties, Generals Miles, Brooks, Cor- 
bin, Shafter, Lawton, Chafifee, Young, 
Baldwin, Sumner, and King; Colonels 
Egbert and Worth, who figured in 
connection with the Spanish-Ameri- 
can War, and the then young, now 
leading lights of improved war tac- 
tics, such as Generals Franklin Bell, 
Barry, Humphries, Hall — graduates 
of the prairies, Indian, Spanish, and 
Chinese campaigns. 

Thus ended in the Ghost Dance 
War an epoch in American history 
that dates the finish of a racial strife — 
in "Wounded Knee," a battle more 
noted in its absolute finality of a 
question than Waterloo and Sedan, 
the Boyne Water, Magenta, Sol- 



ferino, Appomattox, or Mukden in 
Manchuria, they not lieini,' so aV)so- 
lutely forever tinal. 

Furthermore, it marks tlie finish of 
a "continuous performance" of defen- 
sive, desultory at times, concentrative 
at others, of a sullen foe that stood 
up valiantly against odds on a retreat- 
ing line that covered nearly three 
thousand miles, from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific, and three centuries of 
defeats. A setting of a resisting 
Red Sun, as it were, forever, with no 
possible rising of the orb again even 
in the great rally when Gabriel sounds 
the reveille for the eternal awakening. 
To qualify the asserted time of this 
unique struggle, we quote of King 
Phili})'s War in the sixteenth cen- 
tury in Xew England: 

"It was, so far as the English were 
concerned, much such a conflict as a 
man might wage with a swarm of hor- 
nets. The Indians would not meet 
the militia in open field. Instead, 
they attacked parties of church- 
goers, ambushed small detachments 
of soldiers, slew unwary men who 
ventured alone into the forests, 
swopped down on an unprotected 
village, and killed and burned until 
the settlement was in ashes. Nor 
were they the arrow-armed, simple 
folk of the Pequot War. Thanks to 
long association with white men, they 
had guns and ammunition and knew 
how to use them. Deerfield, North- 
field, Brookfield, and other towns 
were the scenes of indescribable 
massacres. Springfield was attacked, 
but, being warned in time, beat off 
the savages. Capt. Lathrop and 
eighty men were set upon and butch- 
ered at Bloody Brook, near Deer- 
field. Throughout New England, but 
chiefly in Western Massachusetts, 
rifle and tomahawk gleaned a horrible 
harvest. Women and Uttle children. 

as well as armed men. fell \ictim to 
the red wave of destruction. Philip 
was amply avenging his ])eo])le's 

Once, at Hadley, Mass., as the 
English townsfolk were huddled, panic 
stricken and leaderless, like scared 
sheep, before an impending Pequot 
attack, an old man is said to have 
rushed among them, formed them 
into military order, and by his bril- 
liant strategic prowess enabled them 
to rout their assailants. Then the 
mysterious stranger disappeared. He 
is believed to have been Gen. Goffe, 
who (forced to flee from England for 
his part in the execution of Charles I) 
had taken refuge in a hillside cave 
near Hadley." 

From the sixteenth ■ to the nine- 
teenth century, a history unequalled 
— a capitulation on terms with prop- 
erty rights, citizenship, and equality 
with the victors — having the advan- 
tages of every civil right and having 
the same self-abnegation, the tradi- 
tional Saumri warrior blood will, 
without doubt, when occasion arises, 
be heard of as defender of "Old 

We should now give charity to the 
Indian's deficiencies and lend a help- 
ing hand to his aspirations, as destiny 
now makes him one of us. 

Our duty is done in thus giving 
importance to a page in American 
history, for when the full-blooded 
Indian historian writes the story of 
his people's last decades of swiftest 
decline, he will date its rapid down- 
fall from the advent of the telegraph, 
the stage coach, and the Union Pacific 
Railroad era, whose way was paved 
and made possible by the first eflfec- 
tive Unking of the Great American 
Continent from east to west by the 
Pony Express. 

The End -f ■